Tour operators visit seeks to put Moray and Speyside on show

SEVERAL OF THE UK’S most important tour operators have been visiting several Moray sites as part of a familiarisation exercise on what the region has to offer.

Over the last few days the 30 ‘inbound tour operators’ visited the Gordon Castle Walled Garden, Johnstons of Elgin and the Speyside Cooperage.

The visit was the first UK Inbound event ever to be held in Moray and Speyside, and included a ‘B2B’ workshop, where byers enjoyed specially-tailored familiarisation trips around the region as well as a number of networking opportunities.

The aim of the event, which was organised by VisitScotland, Moray Speyside Tourism, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and UKinbound, was to raise awareness of Moray Speyside as a destination to be included in tour programmes. It also offered an opportunity for international buyers to experience the region and meet suppliers who are keen to do business, as well as driving internationalisation for these local businesses.

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “These very successful fam trips offered an ideal way to allow international tour operators to experience this fantastic and unique region and to meet with local businesses and suppliers who are keen to do business with them.

“It all helps to raise awareness of Moray Speyside as visitor destination in its own right with a strong and diverse tourism offering worthy of being included in tour operator programmes. This, in turn, creates additional business for the region.

“These businesses in Moray Speyside have really stepped up to the plate to help produce a fascinating and engaging programme for our visitors, showing they can compete with other popular visitor destinations not only in Scotland but across the UK.”

Laurie Piper, Operations Manager at Moray Speyside Tourism, said: “We were absolutely delighted to have secured this event for Moray Speyside. It is the first time ever that UKinbound have held a Discover event here and the opportunity afforded to the region’s tourism businesses is significant.

“The value for the region is not only in terms of potential business, but also in the event’s ability to raise Moray Speyside’s profile as a world-class destination which offers visitors from across the globe a genuine taste of the very best of Scotland with some of the UK’s most influential inbound tour operators.

“In common with much of Moray’s Speyside Tourism’s activities, the Discover Moray Speyside event is the result of strong and positive partnerships we have built with key stakeholders across and beyond the UK. This event really will make a difference to our tourism industry, and there’s much more to come in 2018.”

Anna Miller, Head of Tourism at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, concluded: “Tourism is a vital sector for Moray Speyside and across the whole of the Highlands and Islands. To ensure that we build on the existing strengths of the sector we must continue to create new business connections and access to market opportunities.

“It is key that we showcase some of the region’s wonderful tourism offering and that’s what this familiarisation event is all about. I am very pleased we have been able to support the event and that it has been so well attended.”