Travel agents from around 40 countries attended the 34th annual Visit Scotland expo travel trade event at the Glasgow Scotland Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC). With a 6.5 per cent increase in exhibitors and an estimated £21.4m worth of business generated over two days, the expo proved that Scottish tourism is thriving with gusto within a challenging economic climate.
From teacakes to cupcakes; dressed up mascots to cuddly Highland cows, exhibitors did everything possible to gather attention to their stands and with the average exhibitor generating from £27,300 to £100,000 worth of business. Over 4,000 pre-arranged appointments had been made in advance between tour operators and businesses with many more happening over the two days and 26 new exhibitors included the V&A Dundee, Highland Folk Museum, Scotsman Hotel, Orkney Breweries, Visit Aberdeen and Dumfries and Galloway Council.
In addition to the trade show, VisitScotland has organised a series of familiarisation trips for tour operators visiting expo. These excursions, which take place throughout Scotland both before and after the event, allow tour operators to experience first-hand the kind of holidays they will be able to provide their customers.
Fam trips included a multi-national Year of Natural Scotland-themed excursion to Orkney, a group of Russian tour operators heading to the Scottish Borders and another group from North America heading to Arran.