Air passengers in London were forced to do a double take this weekend as kilted Highlanders, a ceilidh band and even the famous Calanais Standing Stones were spotted at Heathrow’s Terminal Five.
The Scottish icons were in the world’s second busiest airport as part of partnership activity between VisitScotland and Heathrow to promote the ease of access between the capital of the UK and Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, with a daily service operated by British Airways.
Last year, the Highlands welcomed more than 2.5 million domestic and international visitors – an increase of 8.4 per cent since 2011*.
This weekend, passengers at Heathrow were invited to dress up in traditional Highland dress and to take selfies with members of the Clanranald Trust for Scotland, while traditional music was provided by Licence to Ceilidh.
Two-metre tall replicas of the Calanais Standing Stones on Lewis also helped bring the Highlands and Islands to Heathrow while, in partnership with Heathrow’s World Duty Free Stores, passengers could sample whisky and shortbread.
A competition to win a Highlands adventure – including two nights at Brodie Castle, a private tour of Culloden Visitor Centre and Battlefield (courtesy of the National Trust for Scotland) – and a bottle of Speyside malt whisky was also on offer.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:“By collaborating with partners, we are able to showcase Scotland on an international platform and highlight the ease of access to the country. The stunning scenery and rich culture of the Highlands are famous throughout the world, but some may not realise just how easy it is to get there. It was great to be able to bring a little taste of the Highlands to Heathrow – a hugely important airport not only for our domestic visitors, but as a hub for passengers from around the globe.”
Nigel Milton, Heathrow Director of External Affairs, said: “Scotland’s Highlands are home to some of the UK’s most stunning landscapes and richest culture. We’re delighted to be able to share a little bit of Scotland’s magic at this festive time of year with our passengers and encourage more of them to experience the rugged beauty of the Highlands for themselves on our new Inverness route.”
Inglis Lyon, Managing Director of Highlands and Islands Airports (HIAL), said:“The London Heathrow to Inverness route has helped attract thousands of extra visitors to the North of Scotland, supporting tourism initiatives in the Highlands such as the popular North Coast 500.
“Inverness Airport’s passenger numbers have increased 21 per cent in the first six months of the financial year, which we believe is one of the strongest performances of any European airport. The initial British Airways flight numbers are encouraging and prove the significance of Heathrow as a UK hub for Scotland, flying in visitors quicker and more efficiently from all over the world. The service offers tremendous opportunity for our regions excellent tourism businesses.”
otes to Editors
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- 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:
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
- 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
- Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
- 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 www.gov.scot or follow @scotgovESIF
- For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/
- 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 www.visitscotland.com
- For information about business events in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com
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