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      General News

Stornoway-based Cala Hotels and Hebridean Hopscotch Holidays were amongst tourism organisations and businesses from across Scotland that took part in more than 7,000 meetings with travel intermediaries at VisitScotland Connect – the national tourism organisation’s flagship travel trade event -  held recently in Aberdeen.    

Those attending included tour operators, travel advisors and Destination Management Companies representing Scotland’s most important visitor markets.

VisitScotland Connect 2024 was designed to grow the country’s share of global travel in a sustainable way.       

The total number of meetings held across the two-day event was up by 1,000 on 2023 and this year’s event was attended by a total of 222 trade-ready Scottish tourism businesses, including accommodations, visitor experiences and attractions – a 27% increase on 2023.    

During the course of these meetings, businesses connected with almost 260 travel intermediaries - who plan Scotland trips for their clients – representing 23 countries, including those in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and the UK domestic market.     

Their discussions will ensure that Scotland continues to feature in the portfolios of global tour operators and that the holiday offering continues to evolve and fit the demands of the modern traveller.    

Global travel continues to grow post-pandemic, and the return of international markets to Scotland has been very much in evidence. Scottish tourism businesses are keen to take advantage of higher-spending long-haul visitors in particular, and increasingly recognise that working with the travel trade is a way to access that opportunity.     

As many as 64% of international visitors to Britain use travel intermediaries to plan and book their package. Among long-haul travellers this rises to 73%, so working with travel intermediaries can be a very targeted and lucrative way to get Scottish tourism into our core markets and for businesses to secure future bookings.       

Victoria Harvey, VisitScotland Development Manager for the Outer Hebrides, said: “Our beautiful islands and their tourism opportunities were once again promoted to a worldwide audience, thanks to Cala Hotels and Hebridean Hopscotch Holidays. Their feedback on both the event and the meetings they held with buyers was very positive.  

“Our visitors – both international and domestic – are vital for the sustainable growth of the visitor economy here in the Outer Hebrides - staying longer and spending more money in our local communities. VisitScotland Connect provides a quality platform to help drive that visitor economy and offers a targeted opportunity for key buyers and suppliers.   

“VisitScotland Connect is only one element of a comprehensive intermediary marketing strategy which works year-round to bring visitors to the Outer Hebrides.”       

Christina Miller, General Manager, at the Caladh Inn, one of the Cala Hotels properties in Stornoway, said:Cala Hotels and Hebridean Hopscotch’s experience at the recent VisitScotland Connect was exceptional, providing an ideal setting to strengthen current partnerships and forge new ones.   

“Meetings with potential buyers provided invaluable market insights, which will help to enhance our strategies for sustained business growth. We would strongly recommend VisitScotland Connect for expanding tourism businesses, as it offers vital networking and industry insights crucial for competitiveness in the tourism sector.” 

VisitScotland Connect will be held again on 9-10 April 2025, at the P&J Live venue.