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Business is soaring

Press Release   •   May 19, 2014 00:00 BST

The Scottish economy will be flying high as a result of the new Qatar Airways route between Doha and Edinburgh.

VisitScotland analysis has shown the new route, launching on 28 May 2014 will bring around £33m in projected revenue in the first year and £86m after three years with a mix of leisure and business travellers from across the globe.

The news comes as VisitScotland heads to Frankfurt to promote Scotland as a business destination at one of the world’s biggest business tourism trade shows - IMEX 2014 (20 – 22 May).

Last year was the tourism organisation’s most successful IMEX to date, with 22 enquiries resulting in a potential economic impact of over £14 million.

With 3,500 exhibitors from 157 countries and around 9,000 buyers, the national tourism organisation’s stand at IMEX is the strongest it has been in seven years with 15 diverse partners including National Museums of Scotland, Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre, Macdonald Hotels & Resorts and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau amongst others.*

Qatar Airways will be just one of many international exhibitors that VisitScotland will discuss business opportunities with and promote key events such as Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Commonwealth Games and The Ryder Cup.

The Qatar route from Doha is just one of six new direct routes to touch down in Edinburgh and Glasgow this month with others including Philadelphia, Chicago, Zurich and Verona.

Neil Brownlee, Head of the Business Tourism at VisitScotland said:

“Last year’s IMEX was our most successful to date and this year we are coming back stronger with 15 partners on our VisitScotland stand. 

“Scotland is excelling in business tourism, evidenced by the wealth of major investments happening throughout the country including accommodation, venues and major new flight routes. We are looking forward to communicating the importance of doing business in Scotland to over 9,000 buyers at the event.

“With the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and over 800 Homecoming events,  2014 is set to be a massive year for Scotland and this delivers great opportunities for not only business tourism, but for the whole of the Scottish economy. It’s imperative we make the most of this once-in-a-generation opportunity, and this year’s IMEX is the perfect place to do just that.”

Six new flights will be launched from mid-late May providing new direct routes to Glasgow and Edinburgh:

  • Beginning May 22, United Airlines will launch the first scheduled non-stop summer service between Chicago O’Hare and Edinburgh:
    - From May 22 – June 11 the flight will operate 5 times per week
    - From June 12 – September 1 the flight will operate daily
    - From September 2 – October 5 the flight will operate 4 times per week
  • May 24 will see the launch of a new non-stop seasonal flight (May-Oct) between Edinburgh and Philadelphia, operated by US Airways. To celebrate their 10th anniversary and to meet demands, US Airways are also bolstering their schedule with an additional 19 round-trip flights between Glasgow and Philadelphia.
  • The new Qatar Airways route from Doha is the first route between Edinburgh and the Middle East and begins on 28 May. This route opens up Scotland even further to key long haul and emerging markets, expanding links to Scotland from Qatar Airways’ 136 destinations around the world.
  • On 12 May, Edelweiss Air will began flying from Zurich to Edinburgh for the first time. The new twice weekly seasonal scheduled flights will run in 2014 from 12 May – 20 October and is estimated to carry around 8,000 business and leisure passengers, during this time.
  • Jet 2 started a new weekly route between Verona and Edinburgh on May 14 and on 1 May, Thomson introduced flights to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic from Glasgow.

The average spend, per trip, for all international inbound visitors to Scotland for all purposes is £651.95. This is based on the International Passenger Survey using a three year annual average from 2011 to 2013.

*Partners on VisitScotland IMEX stand:

  • The Beardmore Hotel and Conference Centre
  • Glasgow City Marketing Bureau
  • Edinburgh First for conferences, events and accommodation
  • VisitAberdeen
  • Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre
  • Macdonald Hotels & Resorts
  • SchottlandBerater
  • Cashel Travel
  • National Museums Scotland
  • Edinburgh International Conference Centre
  • Marketing Edinburgh
  • Starwood Scotland
  • Scottish Exhibition + Conference Centre
  • GOSFORDHouse
  • The Gleneagles Hotel


Further information
For further information contact:
Jack Gorman
Corporate Press Officer
Tel: 0131 472 2283
Out of hours media enquiries: 07699 766986  

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.
  • 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)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business tourism in Scotland go to
  • For more information on VisitScotland’s annual review please go to