Despite the challenges of 2020, Scotland’s tourism industry has opened its doors and hearts to people across the country and VisitScotland believes now is the time to return the love and show our support.
In a new festive campaign, the national tourism organisation is calling on Scots to ‘love local’ this Christmas and support tourism during its time of need.
It highlights that supporting local businesses this winter offers the best chance of protecting them for the future.
Working with partners across the country, the campaign will use the organisation’s hugely popular website and social channels to showcase the vast range of gifts, products and experiences people can enjoy right on their doorstep.
Worth more than £11.5 billion to the Scottish economy, and supporting 1 in 12 jobs, the Scottish tourism industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, subsequent lockdown and travel restrictions.
However, regardless of this, throughout the pandemic, stories of innovation and kindness emerged as businesses offered free stays to frontline workers, made hand sanitisers for communities, and reinvented their products and services to make life easier for those unable to travel. When tourism reopened on 15 July, those within the industry worked tirelessly to make experiences safe and enjoyable once again.
The arrival of new restrictions, in what is traditionally a quieter time of year, has once again hit the industry hard, prompting VisitScotland to call on people across the country to return the favour, supporting the sector that supported them through it all.
Examples of kindness and innovation during the pandemic include:
Spirited Soaps, a soap producer on Islay who at the height of the pandemic worked with Bruichladdich distillery to produce hand sanitiser for Islay & Jura. A staggering 3500 bottles were produced with every household receiving a bottle.
Schloss Roxburghe Hotel in the Scottish Borders provided care packages to frontline workers during the summer.
The Hideaway Experience, luxury glamping near Dundee, gave back to the community by offering free stays to nominated care workers and NHS staff.
Cullen Bay Hotel in Moray served free meals to the communities of Cullen, Portknockie and Findochty.
Crerar Hotels (across Scotland) welcomed over 380 NHS key workers and their families to its venues in August to say thank you for all their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic
Meldrum House in Aberdeenshire introduced new private dining domes so guests can safely enjoy a meal out under the stars.
Edinburgh’s Christmas has created Santa at Home, where up to six children can safely enjoy a live private and personalised zoom call with Father Christmas.
Travel guides and historians Solway Tours based in Dumfries & Galloway have launched a new ancestral gift box as part of a Scottish-inspired gift range.
Taymouth Marina in Perthshire has made its HotBox, outdoor spa experience, available on an exclusive basis for ‘household bubbles’
As well as encouraging visitors to put Scottish tourism at the top of their Christmas 2020 wish-lists, the national tourism organisation has also created a dedicated advice page on its website, visitscotland.org, where businesses can learn more about the campaign and how to get involved, as well as accessing advice on promoting themselves to a local audience during the pandemic.
Vicki Miller, VisitScotland Director of Marketing, said: “We know that 2020 has been tough for everyone, particularly for those in our valuable, vibrant tourism industry. Yet despite this, many of our tourism businesses selflessly put the public’s needs first – creating services that put a smile on our faces, made us feel just a little bit better during the hardest of times. Now many of these tourism businesses are worried for their future and it is our time to support them.
“With the current five-level protection framework in place in Scotland and many people not able to travel, VisitScotland is working with others to look at how we can support local tourism to help with the devastating impact of the pandemic.
“We’ve made it easy for visitors, packing our website with inspiration and information about all the brilliant businesses they can support within their local area.
“Whether it’s buying gift vouchers, shopping online or on our high streets, dining out or booking a break on your doorstep; by loving local you are supporting communities during tough times and helping protect the places and businesses you love to visit and rebuilding our valuable visitor economy.”
The Scotland Loves Local campaign, spearheaded by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), has been leading the rallying cry for shoppers to think local first - whether in person or online - to help businesses close to them through the pandemic.
Phil Prentice, STP’s Chief Officer, said: “The ways in which our local businesses have been there for us throughout the coronavirus pandemic has been remarkable. They have innovated to offer new products and services, helped vulnerable members of the community and ensured a safe environment to shop. We must now be there for them and support them in every way we can.
“It’s so important, whether it be for retail or hospitality, that where we can, we think local first for all of our needs. This will ensure that our local businesses can continue to be there for us in the future.
“Whether you do it in person or online - to buy a physical item or a gift card - please support the shops, eateries, hotels and all of those close to you. By doing so, you are investing in your community - helping them not only survive the impact of the pandemic, but lay firm foundations for their future.”
To find out more about #ScotlandLovesLocal and learn more about some great ways you can support local this December visit: www.VisitScotland.com/LoveLocal