Big April Adventures, a Big April Hit!

Press release   •   Apr 25, 2013 00:00 BST

Scotland’s national tourism organisation’s biggest ever ticket giveaway has seen all 15,000 tickets handed out to celebrate the Year of Natural Scotland 2013, with more than 35,000 people trying to get their hands on a free ticket.

VisitScotland in collaboration with Scotland’s major transport providers, Caledonian MacBrayne, ScotRail and NorthLink contributed to get as many Scots as possible out and about during this month.

Arran topped the bill as the most popular destination for Calmac passengers, with Mull running it a close second and Lewis third. NorthLink saw Shetland and Orkney as their most popular destinations with scores of Scots looking to have their own Big April Adventures courtesy of ScotRail trains going to destinations such as Inverness, Fort William and Aberdeenshire.

In addition to this, Scots have been offered the opportunity to rediscover childhood haunts or explore new destinations through accommodation, attraction and activity deals that will be available online for those wishing to make the most of an April adventure.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said:

“I’m absolutely delighted that all the tickets have been given out so that as people as possible can enjoy a Big April Adventure of their own this month. The whole idea for this initiative came from my many conversations with Scots who had never been to an island, experienced our national parks or been to some of our fabulous coastlines.

Hopefully throughout the month these thousands of people will have gone to new areas and experienced some of the magnificent things that our country has to offer, and will choose to take another trip in the Year of Natural Scotland 2013.”

Most popular Caledonian MacBrayne routes:

1 - Arran

2 - Mull

3 - Lewis

4 - Barra

5 - Tiree

Martin Dorchester, Managing Director of CalMac Ferries Ltd:

which offered 10,000 free passenger tickets for Big April Adventures said: "We were delighted to be able to play our part in encouraging people to visit parts of Scotland that they may have never visited before, and the feedback from those who travelled with us has been very positive.  We are sure they will also have told family and friends of their experience and fully expect many of them to travel again with us in the future."

Most popular NorthLink routes:

1 - Aberdeen / Shetland

2 - Aberdeen / Orkney

3 - Scrabster / Orkney

Stuart Garrett, Managing Director of NorthLink Ferries said:

“We were delighted to be involved with Scotland's Big April Adventures. I very much hope that the lucky winners have enjoyed exploring Orkney and Shetland, and we look forward to welcoming them again in the future.”

Most popular ScotRail hub stations:

1 - Glasgow

2 - Edinburgh

3 - Aberdeen

4 - Dundee

5 - Inverness

Graeme Macfarlan, Head of Marketing for ScotRail, said:

"It's no surprise that Big April Adventures has been such a hit. We're proud to have played our part in helping Scots explore more of Scotland's outstanding natural landscape."

The Year of Natural Scotland 2013 provides visitors with the ideal opportunity to become immersed in all things Scottish, from the rugged scenery of the Highlands and the splendour of the national parks to the freshness of the natural larders and the warm welcome from people who passionately care about this wild land.


For further information please contact:

James FoxCorporate Press Officer
Corporate Communications
Tel: 0131 472 2052

Notes to Editors:

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  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland. 
  • The organisation has three key roles:
  1. To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
  2. To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
  3. To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • 2014 is the year Scotland welcomes the world, when it hosts the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 800 Homecoming events throughout the country.For more information on Homecoming Scotland 2014, go to 
  • The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face-to-face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24 million for Scotland’s economy. 
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to 
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
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