This year has been deemed the Year of Food and Drink in Scotland. // © 2015 Thinkstock
Feature image (above): New hotels are planned in cities such as Glasgow (pictured), Aberdeen and Edinburgh. // © 2015 Thinkstock
This has been a big year for Scotland on the international stage with its move to separate from the U.K. Though the referendum did not come into fruition, the country’s tourism board, VisitScotland has taken advantage of the publicity it has provided. To keep the momentum going, Scotland tourism is focusing on yearly themed celebrations through 2018, highlighting the country’s culture, innovation, history and future.
2015 has been deemed the ”Year of Food and Drink.” The initiative will focus on the country’s culinary and libation offerings with special group tourism programs. Almost 500 businesses across Scotland are participating in the Year of Food and Drink program, showcasing the very best Scottish natural larder and quality produce to locals and visitors alike. Among them are Galloway Wild Foods’ coastal foraging excursions and behind-the-scenes tours of whiskey distilleries.
The following year will focus on Scottish innovation, architecture and design, celebrating the centenary of the Royal Incorporation of Architects Scotland — the foremost architectural institute in the country. In 2017, Scotland will focus on its history, heritage and archaeology. And in 2018, the spotlight will be on young people, with a program of educational and cultural events to celebrate Scotland’s future.
In the coming years, Scotland will invest nearly $8 billion in tourism infrastructure, developing new hotels, venues, activities, events, technologies and incentives. On the hotel end, the DeVere Group has expanded with two new properties in Aberdeen and Edinburgh, and it plans to open a third property in Glasgow.
The number of museums and gallery spaces in Scotland is also increasing significantly thanks to National Museum of Scotland, the Scottish government and Heritage Lottery Fund. Ten new galleries are set to open in the National Museum of Scotland through 2016, featuring approximately 3,500 new objects.
In addition to investments and developments in attractions and accommodations, new flight routes from North America directly to Scotland’s airports are also increasing accessibility. American Airlines, for example, will introduce a daily flight from New York City to Edinburgh from May 7 through the end of September. Additional routes to Glasgow via Canada will be available through WestJet, beginning May 29.