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Social Climbing in Scotland

Press Release   •   Nov 04, 2016 14:48 GMT

Isle of Harris, credit Mo Thomson Digital Media

A group of images depicting the blue seas and white sands of the beaches on the Isle of Harris have come out top on VisitScotland’s popular social media channels.

The images have topped the list of all destinations in Scotland to receive the most engagement on the national tourism organisation’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts during summer 2016.

The beautiful images of the colourful beaches on a sunny summer’s day captivated the social media world with more than 333,400 likes, shares, retweets and comments. They were taken by photographer Mo Thomson and drew thousands of comments and many comparisons to the Caribbean.

Overall, posts about destinations in Scotland across all VisitScotland media channels led to more than 7.3 million shares, likes, retweets and comments from April – September 2016.

VisitScotland’s social media channels have some of the largest followings and engagement of any other destination marketing organisation globally. The channels provide inspirational images and information about Scotland to inspire people worldwide to visit the country every year.


(High res images of those listed below are available on request)

Aberdeen City & ShireDunnottar CastleNeil Donald
Argyll & the IslesPuffin on Isle of StaffaMarie Tatum
Ayrshire and ArranIsle of Arran over Saltcoats harbourSteven Galloway
Dumfries and GallowayLoch KenDumfries and Galloway Council
Dundee and AngusLunan BayWendy McCarthy
Edinburgh and LothiansWhite Horse ClosePaul Cameron
FifeAnstruther HarbourBlair McHattie
GlasgowGlasgow from the airAmy Wong
Highlands and IslandsSt. John's Church in BallachulishDonna Bramham
OrkneySt Magnus CathedralKenny Ritch
Outer Hebrides Beaches on Isle of HarrisMo Thomson
PerthshireBlackwatch Tower and MuseumKristy Ashton
Scottish BordersJedburgh AbbeyLaurence Norah
ShetlandLerwickBee Leask
StirlingshireThe KelpiesEdinburgh Photo Walks

With more than 2.3 billion people around the world (30% of the total population) using social networking sites, VisitScotland has a dedicated social media team to ensure destination information about every region of Scotland is represented across different channels to different audiences.

The majority of images posted on VisitScotland channels are provided by visitors to and lovers of Scotland, with user-generated content of great importance to the national tourism organisation.

VisitScotland launched its first ever global campaign – the Spirit of Scotland – in February 2016, with a large emphasis on creating a social movement to help promote the country to the world. The #ScotSpirit social campaign has been VisitScotland’s most successful social media campaign to date with nearly 200,000 uses of the hashtag across all platforms (average 1000 per day) and more than 63 million views of the Spirit of Scotland advert and mini documentaries.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive at VisitScotland said:

“The way that visitors access information about Scotland has changed dramatically over the past five years and our ambition is to reach more people than ever before with inspirational and exciting information about Scotland. We regard our social network followers very much as a community and we enjoy engaging with both our regular contributors as much as those who communicate with us for the first time.

“We’re delighted that these stunning images have topped the list of social media engagement and we hope that many more people will share their own treasured stories and images of all the beautiful regions across Scotland with us, so we can continue inspiring visitors for many years to come.”

The statistics outlined above were counted between 1 April – 14 September 2016. Figures refer to VisitScotland Facebook, Twitter and Instagram only.

Please credit the images of the Isle of Harris to Mo Thomson Digital Media, with the link Images are for single use only.


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 seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit or follow @scotgovESIF
  • 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 events in Scotland go to

      2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design started on 1 January 2016 and will end on 31 December 2016.It will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. 
  • Join the conversation at #IAD2016