Big year for VisitScotland Expo

Press release   •   Apr 11, 2019 09:22 BST

VisitScotland Expo is hosting the highest number of tourism businesses in its history as it celebrates the 40th staging of the flagship travel trade event.

The best and brightest of Scotland’s tourism industry are being showcased to the world, highlighting that our country is still open for business.

This is a significant year for the national tourism organisation as 2019 marks VisitScotland's 50th anniversary and the 40th edition of VisitScotland Expo.

The event, which is taking place at the SEC (Scottish Event Campus) in Glasgow on 10 and 11 April [TODAY], sees over 340 businesses and more than 550 buyers from across the world attending as it hits the big 4-0. It also comes after Scotland declared its enduring relationship with Europe in a heartfelt message to demonstrate that Scotland is open with a campaign that launched on the 29th March, the original date that the UK had planned to leave the EU.

Buyers have flown in from 28 different countries including Brazil, Australia, U.S, China, Germany, and France – as well as support from Delta Airlines, Finnair, Hainan and Jet2 delivering top tour operators - to experience what Scotland has to offer and make connections with Scottish suppliers.

Delegates attending VisitScotland Expo will also participate in familiarisation (fam) trips to the region, to give them a real-life first-hand experience of the types of holidays they will be able to provide to customers.

VisitScotland Expo began as the Scotland’s Travel Trade Fair in 1980 before being rebranded in 2001. It has grown into Scotland’s premier business to business event giving tour operators and travel agents from across the globe the chance to meet Scottish tourism businesses and learn about their products and services– all under one roof. Last year saw over 300 companies showcased with over 9,500 pre-made appointments taking place.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “VisitScotland Expo allows businesses - including accommodation providers, visitor attractions and activity providers – to showcase their products and services to hundreds of tour operators and travel agents from all over the world.

“This annual event is a key opportunity to firmly place Scotland on the travel trade’s radar and it is wonderful to see so many new and returning businesses getting involved.

“We welcome visitors from across the EU every year and we look forward to continuing to do this.Six of Scotland’s top 10 markets for overseas visitors are in the European Union so an event like VisitScotland Expo is vital for enriching the links between Scotland’s tourism industry and buyers from there and beyond. It is encouraging to have so many buyers attending the event showing that they know Scotland is open for business.

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience it is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community, generating income, jobs and social change. We need to encourage the industry to provide world class service, facilities, events and attractions to keep up with ever-changing consumer demands and ensure visitors continue to have memorable experiences.”

As always, Scotland is playing host to world-class events in 2019 outside of VisitScotland Expo with The Solheim Cup – the biggest event in women’s golf - being held at Gleneagles in Perthshire in September.

Tourism is one of Scotland’s most valuable industries, creating job opportunities, sustaining communities and ultimately contributing billions to the Scottish economy. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Development of Tourism Act 1969 which led to the creation of an official Scottish Tourist Board. VisitScotland will be celebrating this important milestone throughout the year, sharing the success with its industry colleagues and partners.

This year also sees VisitScotland Expo gearing up for the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020. Scotland’s diverse coastal scenery, ranging from dramatic cliffs and sea stacks to gleaming white beaches, offers an unparalleled range of experiences. Scotland’s coasts and waters will be showcased and celebrated, with a programme of activity designed to support the nation’s tourism and events sectors, throughout the whole of next year.

For more information about VisitScotland Expo, visit

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by five overarching strategies: Marketing, Events, Quality and Sustainability, Inclusive Tourism, International Engagement.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
  • 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)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business tourism in Scotland go to

Scotland’s Themed Years

  • Following an industry consultation, the Themed Years will now take place every second year to enable more time for planning and opportunities for collaboration.
  • 2020 has been designated as a year in which Scotland’s Coasts and Waters will be showcased and celebrated with a programme of activity designed to support the nation’s tourism and events sectors.
  • The year, led by VisitScotland will sustain and build upon the momentum of Scotland’s preceding Themed Years to spotlight, celebrate and promote opportunities to experience and enjoy Scotland’s unrivalled Coasts and Waters, encouraging responsible engagement and participation from the people of Scotland and our visitors.
  • A year-long programme of events, activities and ideas will shine a spotlight on the impact our waters have had on Scotland, from the formation of beautiful natural features to the creation of our national drink – whisky.
  • Join the conversation using #YCW2020
  • 2022 will be the Year of Scotland’s Stories - a celebration of our rich literature, film, oral traditions and myths and legends.