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Strengthening tourism links with Japan

Press Release   •   May 18, 2018 11:01 BST

A selection of Moray Speyside’s finest attractions and locations are being visited by Japan’s Ambassador to the UK this week, as part of a tour to introduce the country’s travel agents to the region.

The Japanese Ambassador, Koji Tsuruoka, and his wife, Yooko, are visiting Moray Speyside on Thursday and Friday (17th and 18th May), along with Japanese Minister for Tourism, Jotaro Horiuchi, four tour operators and two representatives from the Japanese tourist board.

The purpose is to strengthen tourism links between Scotland and Japan and encourage Japanese tour operators and travel agents to consider the region for inclusion in future itineraries.

Yesterday’s itinerary included a visit to Cawdor Castle, near Nairn, the 14th century home of the Thames of Cawdor, built around a 15th century tower house and which originally belonged to Clan Cawdor.

The party then enjoyed lunch at the Grade-A listed Georgian mansion, Boath House Hotel, before touring Longmorn Distillery.

Highly-regarded Longmorn, is one of the main spirits used to produce the popular Chivas Regal blend. Around 1919, Longmorn’s Master Distiller gave Japan’s ‘father of whisky’, Masataka Taketsuru, a crash course in all aspects of whisky production, including cooperage, malting, distilling and ageing.

In the afternoon, the party visited Johnstons of Elgin, which has more than 200 years of tradition and expertise in textile manufacturing. There, they had a brief history of the company and a tour of the premises.

Yesterday evening, the party were joined by Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Fiona Hyslop, for a meal at Blervie House, near Forres. Owners Sheena and Graham Thompson recently achieved a 5* VisitScotland Quality Assurance award after lovingly restoring the listed building. They have already attracted interest from travel trade representatives and bloggers, keen to visit the region.

The Ambassador’s visit follows a trip he made to Scotland last summer with his wife and the Minister for Tourism, when they visited Moray Speyside to familiarise themselves with the region before returning this year with the Japanese tour operators.

Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Scotland’s heritage and cultural assets are highly regarded around the world, including Japan. I am pleased therefore that Ambassador Tsuruoka and his party are able to visit Speyside and see for themselves the wonderful tourism experience available in the north east of Scotland.

“The visit provided a welcome opportunity to reaffirm the strong friendship and economic ties that exists between Scotland and Japan. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Japanese government and tourism sector to ensure even more Japanese visitors can come here and enjoy all that Scotland has to offer.”

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “We are delighted to be hosting this visit by the Ambassador to Moray Speyside and we have successfully demonstrated what a strong tourism offering the region has for visitors.

“The sky is the limit for Scottish tourism with our focus on attracting more visitors from new destinations. The future of Scottish tourism lies beyond our shores – we are connecting operators and tourism businesses to match their global growth ambitions.”

Laurie Piper, Operations Manager at Moray Speyside Tourism, said: We are delighted to welcome the Ambassador on this return visit to Moray Speyside, malt whisky country.

“Moray Speyside Tourism is the only organisation dedicated exclusively to promoting our incredible region to visitors from around the world and so we look forward to forging even stronger links between Moray Speyside’s tourism businesses and their Japanese counterparts – reinforcing the region’s reputation as a world-class destination.”

Today (Friday), the group was heading onto Aberdeenshire to visit Balmoral Castle, followed by lunch at the Marcliffe Hotel in Aberdeen and then to view the Thomas Blake Glover collection at Aberdeen Maritime Museum as well as a tour of Thomas Glover House.

A photograph of the Japanese ambassador and delegation with Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Fiona Hyslop, at Blervie House. 

Notes to Editors

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  • 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.
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  • For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
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2018 Year of Young People

  • The Year of Young People 2018 will be the next of the Scottish Government’s series of themed years, following the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.
  • The Year of Young People (YoYP 2018) will inspire Scotland through its young people aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally
  • Central to YoYP 2018 will be a celebratory events programme that puts young people at the heart of its development and delivery, creating new and valuable experiences for young Scots and the wider public, with links to the inaugural 2018 European Championships.
  • Over 200 young people throughout Scotland are currently being recruited to become YoYP 2018 Ambassadors. Ambassadors will ensure that people and organisations in their communities know about what’s happening and will lead on projects and activities to create events and opportunities to celebrate young people.
  • The Year of Young People will have six themes which were developed in co-production with young people themselves:
  • oParticipation – looking at how young people can influence public services and decisions which affect their lives
  • oEducation – creating a stronger role for young people in shaping their learning
  • oHealth and Wellbeing – supporting young people to lead healthier, active lives and have opportunities to learn about and improve their mental health and resilience
  • oEquality and Discrimination – broadcasting the value of young Scots, challenging negative perceptions of young people, and supporting young people to take leading roles in challenging discrimination in all its forms.
  • oEnterprise and regeneration – celebrating young people’s role in innovation, entrepreneurship and the Scottish economy as well as making Scotland a greener and more pleasant place to live
  • oCulture – celebrating young people’s talent and contribution to Scottish culture and arts.
  • Further information on what’s happening and how people can get involved can be found on the new website www.yoyp2018.scot or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.