The Race is on!

Press release   •   Jun 15, 2015 15:42 BST

Scotland is further strengthening its links with Canada with the staging of a travel agent ‘scavenger hunt’ around Edinburgh.

Previously held in locations such as Las Vegas, San Francisco, Seattle, and at Universal Studios in Orlando, the Air Canada Race is coming to the UK for the very first time this week.

VisitScotland has teamed up with Air Canada and VisitBritain to host this year’s event, which is based on the American TV show The Amazing Race, and will see 44 travel agents competing for the top prize of a luxury holiday to Scotland.

Working in teams of four, they must hunt for clues and solve puzzles dotted around various Edinburgh landmarks, including the Castle, the National Museum of Scotland and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The group will also be given a tour of the Edinburgh Gin Distillery and Hopetoun House.

Transport is being provided by Highland Experience Tours and accommodation by Malmaison Hotel.  Cranachan and Crowdie, Robert Graham Whisky and Edinburgh Gin will help to showcase Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink.

The national tourism organisation is using the Air Canada Race to increase awareness of Scotland among travel agents in Canada – a key market which each year generates around £80 million for the Scottish economy. Air Canada Rouge operates a seasonal thrice-weekly service from Toronto to Edinburgh.

VisitScotland requires that all Race participants become SCOTSagents, completing an online course that boosts their knowledge of Scotland and, in turn, passing on that knowledge to prospective visitors.

The travel agents, some of whom have never before been to this country, will also enjoy a ‘Welcome to Scotland’ event at the Ghillie Dhu, and a closing awards ceremony at the Hub, where VisitScotland Chairman Mike Cantlay will be among the speakers

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “There is already a strong affinity between Canada and Scotland, especially in the ancestral tourism market, and the staging of the Air Canada Race will allow us to further strengthen these ties. This event allows us to further build on the legacy of 2014, a year in which Scotland hosted the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 1,000 events as part of Homecoming.

“By giving these travel agents an unforgettable experience in Scotland and by showing them first-hand exactly what this country has to offer, they will be better placed to help sell our country to prospective visitors.”

Virgilio Russi, Senior Director Sales – Canada at Air Canada, said: “We are very pleased to be launching our sixth edition of the Air Canada Race, an incentive that since 2006 has engaged our top-valued travel trade partners in Canada in an exciting and informative format. 

“As Edinburgh is one of our feature cities our leisure carrier Air Canada Rouge flies to this year, this was a natural fit as we showcase our global network expansion and close partnership with Scotland. We wish our Racers from Canada the best of luck as they learn about all that Edinburgh has to offer through this challenging and fun-filled experience.”

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 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.
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, the tourism economy supports 270,000 jobs in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the tourism economy 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)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business tourism in Scotland go to

Year of Food and Drink 2015

  • 2015 is the Year of Food and Drink, a celebration of Scotland’s natural larder and the role that food and drink plays in shaping our economic success.
  • Scotland generates over £2.5m per day through food and drink tourism.
  • A series of themed months will create an appetite for key areas of Scotland’s food and drink industries – from seafood and whisky to berries and high-quality meat
  • For more information, visit