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Virtual Reel-ality

Press Release   •   Jan 22, 2016 14:27 GMT

Toe-tapping visitors to Scotland can grab their partners for a virtual spin around the dance floor this Burns Night in a new immersive ceilidh experience created by VisitScotland.

The Real Ceilidh, which is found on the national tourism organisation’s website, features videos of a traditional ceilidh divided into three dances: The Gay Gordons; Dashing White Sergeant; Strip the Willow.

The band introduces each dance before viewers can watch it, download a fact-sheet to learn the moves and even “join the dance” – in which they see the action filmed from the point-of-view of one of the dancers using a head-mounted camera.

The interactive content has been created by VisitScotland just in time for Burns Night (25 January) – a time of year when many ceilidhs are held – using state-of-the-art filmmaking techniques as Scotland celebrates the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

The word ceilidh comes from the Gaelic for ‘gathering’ or ‘party’. Ceilidhs traditionally feature Scottish folk music and dance and are held on special occasions, such as weddings. The videos are hoped to give visitors an authentic experience of this unique element of Scottish culture. A list of ‘ceilidh facts’ accompany the videos to give a fuller understanding of the traditional event.

Viewers can also enter a competition to win an ‘ultimate trip to Scotland’ which includes accommodation, flights, an exclusive ceilidh in Edinburgh and a private whisky tasting at the Scotch Whisky Experience.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:

“Scotland knows how to throw a party and this interactive ceilidh experience puts viewers right in the middle of the fun, using state-of-the-art filmmaking techniques. Our research shows that visitors seek to take part in all aspects of Scottish culture when travelling to our country and search for a truly authentic experience, so we thought we would give them a digital taster before coming to try out the real thing!

“Combining live action sequences with information on each dance, this new content will both inform and inspire travellers considering coming to our shores. As we shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements as an ‘innovation nation’ in the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, it seems appropriate that we celebrate a major cultural tradition in this unique way.”

Jim Healy, Chairman of The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS), said:

“The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society welcomes this initiative by VisitScotland to bring the most popular traditional ceilidh dances to a wider audience online and showcase an important part of Scottish culture.

“The RSCDS supports traditional music and dance and works to encourage as many people as possible to ‘Dance Scottish’ here in Scotland and through over 460 branches and affiliate groups around the world. This resource from VisitScotland will hopefully enable more people to experience the enjoyment of ceilidh dancing.”

To view The Real Ceilidh, go to

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Notes to Editors

The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society

  • The RSCDS is a registered Scottish Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee (Charity No. SC 016085; Company No. SC480530), dedicated to promoting Scottish Country Dance and developing a vibrant worldwide community of Scottish dance and music. Its 460 branches and affiliated groups in Scotland and around the world are the “grass roots” organisations that run classes, provide training and host social events at a local level in their own areas. The Society supports and helps coordinate and promote their work while also running a number of its own high profile events over the years which attract an international audience. These include its premier annual event ‘Summer School’ run over four weeks in St Andrews which attracts over 600 participants as well as a youth focused event ‘Spring Fling’ which is held in different locations and countries each year, among others. The Society also produces dance publications (books, CDs and online videos) highlighting new dances and promoting old favourites. It has also developed resources targeted at encouraging schools to teach Scottish Country Dance as part of the delivery of the curriculum and run a CPD for teachers.
  • For more go to

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.
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, the tourism economy supports 270,000 jobs in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the tourism      economy 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 events in Scotland go to

    Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

  • 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 begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the current 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 Scottish Government, 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 events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • Join the conversation at #IAD2016
  • Events can join the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Partner Programme throughout the year by visiting