VisitScotland’s 10 tourism partners met with key buyers from India at their five-city sales mission to grow the tourism market in the country currently worth £12 million. The Scottish tourism trade showcased the castles, music, culture, stone circles, scotch and many other things the country is famous for.
VisitScotland recently conducted business development mission in collaboration with Etihad Airways, in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru, offering an opportunity to hold face-toface meetings with up to 400 key tour operators. Between 2013 and 2015, Scotland welcomed an average of 29,000 visitors from India, especially drawing Indian travellers to experience their intriguing history, culture and Scotch.
According to Malcom Roughead, Chief Executive Officer, VisitScotland, “India is an important emerging market for Scottish tourism and this business development mission, our first of 2017, will allow tourism businesses to have face-to-face meetings with tour operators. It will provide our partners with an excellent platform to showcase their products and we look forward to welcoming more Indian visitors to Scotland as a result.”
Kirsten Spence, Market Manager-India, Middle East and Australasia, VisitScotland, points out that the tourism board found the business development events to be very useful to connect with the travel trade, discuss their key challenges and opportunities to drive business to Scotlandfrom India.
“From the Indian market last year, we saw about half a million people visiting the UK out which a very small percentage visited Scotland. However we have seen a growth in number of people who are including Scotland in their itineraries especially for those who are travelling to London and then travelling to the likes of Glasgow and Edinburgh.” Spence elaborates that they have witnessed a larger number of Indian travellers moving out of the main cities and enquiring from the travel trade for off-beat trips.“We have multiple itineraries which allow guests to stay for 5-14 day trips or even longer in Scotland. The average length of stay for the Indian travellers visiting Scotland is 13 days,” says Spence.
VisitScotland has adopted a two pronged approach to drive traffic into the destination, informs Spence. For the sales mission, the tourism board invited partners based in the UK who are also responsible for bringing travellers into Scotland through London and since those guests should stay a bit longer in Scotland, the tourism board was also joined by partners based in Scotland to allow the India-based trade to engage directly with them as well and book trips to Scotland directly.
Commenting on the partnership with Etihad Airways, Spence adds, “Etihad connects India and Scotland via Abu Dhabi. With this partnership we are also supporting and driving traffic into Abu Dhabi from India and I think we will also benefit from that. This is very useful for those who are coming for a one country stay with Scotland being that destination.”