Scotland goes Bollywood

VisitScotland will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai in 2018. In 2017, Scotland recorded 8 per cent YOY growth in Indian arrivals to the destination.

ANKITA SAXENA

I n line with the rapid growth in interest for Scotland among Indian travellers, the destination has recorded an average growth of 37 per cent over three years in trips taken by Indian travellers to Scotland, informed Kirsten Spence, Senior Market Manager—Emerging Markets, VisitScotland. The tourism board recently conducted its three-city roadshow in New Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai in partnership with Etihad Airways.

“We are estimating a very conservative 40,000 Indian visitors coming to Scotland in 2017 but we know it is more than that. The International Passenger Survey calculates the number of arrivals through the airports but we understand that people are travelling from the likes of London, whether through rails or driving themselves and thus, we know there are more people coming into Scotland than just through the airports,” says Spence.

We find with a huge growth in Indian economy on an international level, there has been an increase in luxury travel from India

Elaborating on the evolution of the Indian traveller to Scotland, Spence explains five years ago, Indian travellers visited the cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow to see the most popular sights but overtime, they have started to spread out of these cities to visit the Highlands such as Inverness, the Isle of Skye and other areas in the West Coast as well. She says, “Whiskey trails and golf has always been popular but travellers are now also spending few days outside of London to go shopping in Scotland. Also, we find that with the huge growth in the Indian economy spectrum on an international level, there has been an increase in the luxury travel segment from India. Indians are now seeking unique experiences which Scotland has in bucket loads.” She further identifies that the length of stay of Indian travellers has increased from 1-2 nights to 4-5 nights in Scotland which could also be combined with the UK.

According to Spence, the Indian travel trade is very proactive and thus, the tourism boards would like to be present in India more than other markets. “The travel trade is already packaging Scotland as a bucket-list destination. We would offer them maximum amount of content and experiences to sell,” she said.

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