Press release -

Double celebration for Ayrshire icon

As we celebrate the 260th birthday of Robert Burns, the museum of his birthplace has become the 100th business in Ayrshire & Arran to commit to providing visitors with local information.

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, in South Ayrshire, has joined an impressive network of VisitScotland Information Partners (VIPs). The VIP programme harnesses the local knowledge, warmth and enthusiasm of partners across the country to help visitors receive the warmest of welcomes and make the most of their trip to Scotland.

Cared for by the National Trust for Scotland, the attraction takes visitors on a journey that weaves through the village of Alloway, along the Poet's Path, taking them from historical buildings to landmarks known to Burns. The perfect place to discover the man and his genius, it is popular with die-hard Burnsians and novices alike, welcoming over 164k visitors in 2017.

Awarded Five Stars by the national tourism organisation, the museum has always done its upmost to give patrons the best experience possible. It therefore made perfect sense to get involved with VisitScotland’s innovative approach to information provision. The new official accreditation will add value to the service they offer and make it easier than ever before for visitors to connect with local businesses.

The VIP programme has been very popular in Ayrshire & Arran with accommodation providers, visitor attractions and social enterprises all joining up to do their bit to ensure visitors receive first-class information about the region. Robert Burns Birthplace Museum joins the Scottish Maritime Museum, Glenapp Castle and a host of other tourism businesses.

With 2.1m visits to Burns attractions between 2013 and 2017, and over 65,000 attendances at eleven Scotland’s Winter Festival supported Burns events in 2018, Scotland’s National Bard is an integral part of the country’s cultural offering. Religious figures aside, there are also more monuments and memorials dedicated to Burns than anyone apart from Queen Victoria and Christopher Columbus, which highlights his international acclaim that brings visitors to Scotland.

Caroline Smith, Operations Manager at Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, said: “Our museum allows people from across the world to discover the history and genius of Scotland’s National Bard. We strive to give visitors the best experience possible so, on what would have been Rabbie’s 260th birthday, we are thrilled to ‘tak a cup o’ kindness’ and commit to providing visitors with local information.”

Gordon Smith, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “Robert Burns composed some of the world's most instantly recognisable lines of poetry and song lyrics. I’m delighted to see that we are celebrating him on his birthday by making his flagship museum our 100th VIP in Ayrshire & Arran.

“The VIP programme celebrates and supports tourism providers as they act as local ambassadors and help provide information, assistance and advice on all there is to see and do here. This follows a growing trend among consumers to use online resources to plan their trips and we now have partners throughout the country providing high quality information and advice to visitors with whom they interact.”

The programme forms part of VisitScotland’s focus on information which also includes a global online community to allow Scots and those who love Scotland to bring alive the streets, characters and landscapes of our country.

The scheme is open to all Quality Assured businesses, as well as community groups, local authority-operated library services and social enterprises. VisitScotland provides the partner sites with official signage and collateral, promotional material and information resources to make sure visitors receive an excellent standard of information about the area and the rest of Scotland. For more information, visit

For more information about the Burns Birthplace Museum go to

For more information about Robert Burns go to

For more information about the VIP programme go to


  • Tourism


  • corporate communications


  • Scotland

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 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.
  • 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
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Scotland’s Themed Years

  • Following an industry consultation, the Themed Years will now take place every second year to enable more time for planning and opportunities for collaboration.
  • 2020 has been designated as a year in which Scotland’s Coasts and Waters will be showcased and celebrated with a programme of activity designed to support the nation’s tourism and events sectors.
  • The year, led by VisitScotland will sustain and build upon the momentum of Scotland’s preceding Themed Years to spotlight, celebrate and promote opportunities to experience and enjoy Scotland’s unrivalled Coasts and Waters, encouraging responsible engagement and participation from the people of Scotland and our visitors.
  • A year-long programme of events, activities and ideas will shine a spotlight on the impact our waters have had on Scotland, from the formation of beautiful natural features to the creation of our national drink – whisky.
  • Join the conversation using #YCW2020
  • 2022 will be the Year of Scotland’s Stories - a celebration of our rich literature, film, oral traditions and myths and legends.

Press contacts

Grant Anderson

Corporate Press Officer - Regional Contact for media enquiries on: Glasgow; Renfrewshire; Dunbartonshire; Ayrshire and Arran; Argyll and the Isles; Year of Young People; VisitScotland Expo; Social Tourism; Inclusive Tourism 0131 472 2416

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