World welcomed at tourism Expo

Representatives from more than 40 countries attend event

Visit Scotland Expo at the SECC.
• Deanston Distillery was among the exhibitors at this year’s VisitScotland Expo event.

By Dave Hunter

TOURISM industry representatives from 40 different countries descended on Glasgow earlier this month for the 35th annual VisitScotland Expo.

The event, which promotes the Scottish tourism and hospitality industries to tour operators and travel companies from across the world, took place at the SECC.
A total of 700 buyers attended the event, from markets including Europe, North America and Asia, and had the chance to browse stands from 250 different Scottish tourism businesses. More than 150 of the buyers were from the key markets of China, India and Russia.
Exhibitors ranged from whisky firms and venues to tour operators.
In addition to the Expo event itself, VisitScotland organised a number of ‘familiarisation trips’ for buyers, which included a tour of castles in the east of Scotland, a food and drink-themed tour of the west of the country and a trip taking in some of Scotland’s most famous buildings.
Speaking to SLTN at the Expo, VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead said the event is “a great example of a team effort”.
“We act in the role of facilitator, but none of this would happen were it not for the industry at the coal face” said Roughead.
“Every region of Scotland is represented, every sector, and that’s just testament to how it [the Expo] works for them.”
He added that the focus of this year’s Expo was to maintain the “buoyancy” brought about by 2014 events such as the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup.
“Next year alone there are five major world/European championships coming to Scotland, and they vary from mountain bike championships, to orienteering, to gymnastics, to European swimming championships,” he said.
“So it’s absolutely fundamental we keep our eyes looking forward and don’t navel gaze on ’14.
“There’s a huge temptation just to get through the year, but our job is to keep looking ahead.”
It is claimed that between £21 million and £22m of business is secured over the course of the two-day Expo event.
Tourism minister Fergus Ewing said the Expo is a “vital event giving our international visitors a flavour of all Scotland has to offer as well as providing a significant boost to the country’s world-class tourism economy”.