Midlothian tourist spots aim to re-connect with the world

VisitScotland is linking tourism businesses from across Midlothian with tour operators and travel agents from around the world, through an innovative virtual event.

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 6:00 am
Pic Lisa Ferguson. Ian Gardner, Director, Rosslyn Chapel Trust.

More than 280 Scottish businesses are virtually exhibiting at VisitScotland’s Scotland Reconnect 2021, from April 27-29, aiming to do business with more than 300 tour operators from around the world.

The online travel trade workshop event exclusively enables Scottish businesses to connect with buyers in important international markets, to attract visitors and help rebuild the country’s tourism industry following the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2019, international visitors made 3.5 million overnight stays in Scotland, spending £2.5 billion, which is 43 per cent of the total overnight spend. Inbound passenger numbers to the UK in July 2020 were 89 per cent fewer at 1.3 million passenger arrivals, down from 11.1 million arrivals in July 2019.

Tourism businesses from the Midlothian area that have signed up to SR2021 include, Rosslyn Chapel Trust, Scottish Food and Drink Trails, The Old Millhouse, and Mini Mack Tours.

Neil Christison, VisitScotland regional director, said: “VisitScotland supports members of the tourism industry in Midlothian in their aspirations to internationalise and to attract more business and income from international markets as travel restrictions are eased in 2021.

“The last 12 months have been extremely challenging for tourism businesses but we had a good regional turnout to the inaugural event in November and feedback was very positive.

“Demand is building and Midlothian tourism businesses are ready to offer a warm welcome back to visitors when the time is right.

“Scottish tourism punches above its weight on the world stage and we need to leverage this reputation to bring new investment once visitors can travel freely in 2021/22 again. Until Expo can return safely, Scotland Reconnect is the next best way to keep Scotland at the forefront of people’s minds.”

Isobel MacEwan, managing director of Scottish Food and Drink Trails, said: “This gives us a chance to look forward to the future and build contacts who are also optimistic about food tourism within Scotland.”

The inaugural Scotland Reconnect event last November involved 5,000 meetings and this year, buyers from 26 countries, including the USA, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Holland, Scandinavia, Australia, Brazil and the Middle East are attending, as well as London-based inbound operators representing the Japanese and Chinese markets. what makes Scotland unique and stands apart landscape, history, culture, warm welcome.

Delegates will take part in 1-2-1 meetings, as well as round table discussions on the latest issues affecting world travel and tourism. There will be a chance to hear about new tourism product offerings, trends like agritourism and adventure tourism and VisitScotland’s drive towards responsible tourism.

VisitScotland’s head of engagement, Denise Hill, will also meet in conversation with Tom Jenkins, the CEO of the European Tour Operators Association; and Joss Croft, CEO of trade association UKinbound, to discuss global travel in the future. And there will be a look ahead to The Year of Scotland’s Stories in 2022, a showcase of the country’s rich literature, film, oral traditions, myths and legends.

As collaboration and cross-selling are key to developing the ideal tourism offering, there will be an exclusive networking session for Scottish businesses the day before the event gets underway, to allow businesses to connect with each other in an informal 1-to-1 basis.