Showcasing Scotland

The country struts its tourism stuff

By: Yvonne Horn

With the wail of bagpipes and kilts everywhere, the 26th annual VisitScotland Expo opened its doors April 26 and 27 in Glasgow to some 1,000 trade buyers from across the globe. Inside the architecturally striking Scottish Exhibition Center, Scotland strutted its tourism stuff with more than 200 booths showcasing products and services to potential buyers from around the world.

Speaking to the country’s ambition to achieve 50 percent growth in tourism revenues by 2015, VisitScotland chairman Peter Lederer said, “Visitors love Scotland’s traditional image. Today, however, we are spreading the word that Scotland is also a happening place, a modern place with excellent tourism content attractive to younger travelers.”

Buyers wandering the aisles found a mix of products and services fitting neatly within VisitScotland’s slogans for 2006 and beyond: “Live It. Visit Scotland” and “Welcome to Our Life.”

Among them, adventure tourism emerged as an important trend, with Wilderness Scotland ( showcasing hiking, sailing, sea kayaking, canoeing, and mountain-biking treks through the country’s most remote and beautiful areas.

The company’s brochure includes family and tailor-made trips. Creating the most buzz is mountain biking which builds on the International Mountain Biking Association giving an “A” grade to Scotland as “the hottest place on the planet” for the sport.

Culinary tourism ( is cooking up a storm in the land of haggis and oatmeal. Gastronomically inclined clients can follow culinary-themed itineraries, attend food-themed festivals and fairs, improve their cooking technique at culinary schools inspired by Scotland’s natural larder and choose their eating and drinking from establishments displaying the Scottish Thistle Flavour of Scotland award.

Horses run daily at five venues strategically located around the country. To assist you in organizing clients’ trips, Scottish Racing ( offers suggested itineraries that include transport, accommodations and visits to castles, breweries and whisky distilleries, along with days at the races.

Come December, ancestral search will receive an additional impetus with the opening of Edinburgh’s Family History Centre ( a one-stop shop for genealogy research.

Meanwhile, Scottish Ancestral Trail (www.scottish, a family-owned company, offers exclusive packages based on your client’s Scottish ancestry with individualized itineraries, site-appropriate accommodations and chauffeured, driver/guide transport.

Golf, with more than 540 courses, continues to entice a record number of players to the birthplace of the game.

The official guide, “Golf in Scotland,” is available free through The Web site offers information needed to put together a perfect holiday for your golfing clients including course descriptions, availability of golf passes, itinerary and accommodation ideas, suggested special golf breaks and packages, information on upcoming golf tournaments and a listing of golf tour operators.

Finally, for your most discriminating clients, there’s no need to look farther than Connoisseurs Scotland, (

Seventeen of the country’s finest accommodations make up Connoisseur’s core, coupled with suggestions for the very best to do and see along with suggested itineraries designed to inspire your clients to come and explore Scotland.

Scottish Tourism Board