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There's no place like home

Press Release   •   Aug 07, 2014 09:50 BST

Hundreds of thousands of people from the UK and overseas have embraced Scotland’s second year of Homecoming with record-breaking attendances recorded for many of the events within the first six months of 2014.

Latest attendance reports reveal that over 890,000* people have attended 34 funded events between January and May with many more enjoying the hundreds of Partner events taking place in the same period.

Established events with a Homecoming feel including Celtic Connections, Electric Glen, and the Glasgow Film Festival welcomed their biggest crowds in history with 110,176, 27,008, and 41,806 visitors respectively

Brand new events such as the John Muir Festival and ‘Home’ - the International launch of the Kelpies were also success stories with 38,500 discovering more about the great Scottish naturalist and over 9,000 people experiencing the opening of Andy Scott’s horse head sculptures.

Homecoming’s special Whisky Month in May saw over 78,439 people from over 31 different countries** embracing Scotland’s national spirit at events such as Spirit of Speyside, Whisky Stramash, Glasgow Whisky Festival, World Whisky Day and Spirit of Stirling.

Homecoming signature event Bannockburn Live also proved a sell-out success in June with a 20,000 capacity crowd attending the large scale festival over two days.

2014 is Scotland’s second year of Homecoming with the first taking place in 2009. Launched in January 2014, the programme includes a record 970 partner and funded events across the country. 

Key events still to come this year include Highland Homecoming (September and October), the Forth Bridges Festival (September), Ryder Cup Gala Concert (September), Royal National MOD (October) and the MTV Europe Music Awards (November).

As well as events, many businesses across Scotland have got caught up in the Homecoming excitement by producing their own themed products including tours, beer, whisky, cheese, chocolate, tablet, gin, shortbread and limited edition Coca-Cola bottles.

Fergus Ewing, Tourism Minister said:

“Scotland is welcoming the world in 2014 and it is fantastic that both the people of Scotland and our visitors are embracing many of the events being supported as part of the Homecoming 2014 celebrations.  All events are designed to celebrate the very best of Scotland’s food and drink, our assets as a country of natural beauty as well as our rich creativity and cultural and ancestral heritage.

“The programme really has something for everyone, in every corner of the country, in every month of the year.  It is proof of how deserving Scotland has been in receiving the endorsements of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014, Independent travel bible Wanderlust and the experts at Rough Guides who all rated Scotland as one of the top ‘must visit’ destinations in the world during 2014.

“I also look forward to seeing these record levels of visitor numbers being maintained through to year end with the Edinburgh Festivals, Forth Bridge Festival, Highland Homecoming, Ryder Cup Opening Gala Concert and the MTV Europe Music Awards 2014 still to come.”

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said

“We’re only just over halfway through our second Homecoming Year and the engagement from locals, visitors and businesses has been astonishing, exceeding all our expectations.  Record high attendances at events and a real passion and enthusiasm for celebrating Scottish culture, history, music, nature and ancestry has shone through and we are confident the second half of the year will be just as breathtaking as the first.

“2014 is a once-in-a-lifetime year for Scotland with an unprecedented number of high profile events including the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and the outstanding Homecoming programme.  This is an important time for our events, business and tourism industries and the legacy created will confirm Scotland’s place on the world stage for many years to come.”

A full evaluation report for Homecoming 2014 will be available in Spring 2015. For more information about Homecoming events, visit www.homecomingscotland.com or download the app.

* 894,311attendances – for Homecoming events that have submitted attendance reports only. Includes only funded events from Jan 2014 – May 2014.  More events will be added as year progresses.

**Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival began on 1 May. There were representatives from 31 different countries, with visitors coming from all over Europe, USA, Canada, Taiwan and Australia to join in the celebrations with Scots and celebrate the Year of Homecoming.

-ENDS-

For further information contact:

Kate Turnbull

Corporate Press Manager

0131 472 2324

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 www.visitscotland.com
  • 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.
  • 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 tourism in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com
  • For more information on VisitScotland’s annual review please go to www.visitscotland.org/about_us/our_focus/annual_report.aspx