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VisitScotland strikes Gold

Press Release   •   Jan 04, 2018 12:46 GMT

VisitScotland Assistant Market Managers, Nicole Graham and Keith Campbell, collect the award. Photo credit: Naim Hasan Photography.

VisitScotland has been named best overseas tourism marketing body by one of the USA’s top associations of tour operators.

The national tourism organisation struck Gold in the ‘Overseas DMO (Destination Management Organisation) Partner’ category of the prestigious 2018 Distinguished Dozen awards, organised by the National Tour Association (NTA).

NTA member destinations and tour operators cast their votes based on quality of product, level of customer service delivered by tourist boards, value to customers and dedication to relationship building. Winners were selected for gold, silver and bronze in each of the 12 categories.

VisitScotland fended off the Mexican and Italian tourist boards to claim top spot, and was presented with the accolade in San Antonio, Texas, during Travel Exchange, the association’s annual convention.

The USA is Scotland’s biggest international inbound market in both trips and visitor spend, with continued increases in direct air connectivity ensuring that future growth opportunities are strong; in this year alone Scotland has seen the introduction of three new transatlantic low cost Norwegian Air routes into Edinburgh, a New York JFK to Glasgow service by Delta Airlines and the announcement of a Washington DC to Edinburgh service by United Airways.

Over the last ten years research has shown that not only are more visitors from the USA coming to Scotland but they are staying longer. Last year visits from the US were up at 451,000 trips amounting to £510 million in expenditure.

Courier, the official magazine of the National Tour Association, announced the winners and the awards ceremony took place at Travel Exchange (14-18 December).

Denise Hill, Head of Market Strategy & Development at VisitScotland, said:

“We are absolutely delighted VisitScotland has received Gold. It has been a pleasure to work closely in partnership with the NTA over these last 10 years and to see Scotland’s profile as a destination grow and develop.

“The NTA provides us with a fantastic platform to showcase Scotland, working with specialist tour operators to tailor experiences which deliver the adventure and enrichment which US visitors seek.”

Bob Rouse, Courier editor, said:

“NTA tour operators work with DMOs (Destination Management Organisations) and suppliers to create unique and innovative itineraries that really appeal to travelers, and the Distinguished Dozen programme gives operators a chance to recognise their valued partners.”

For the full list of winners, 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
  • To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
  • 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)

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 or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.