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Moray tourism operators will connect to 200 global buyers at VisitScotland virtual event


By Chris Saunderson

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A NEW worldwide virtual tourism event will see Moray Speyside, a bed and breakfast near Forres and the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival linked with around 200 global tour operators.

Blervie House at Rafford.
Blervie House at Rafford.

VisitScotland is linking Blervie House at Rafford, the region's local tourism agency and the whisky festival through Scotland Reconnect 2020.

The first of its kind to be delivered by the national tourism organisation, the pilot event takes place from November 23-25 and offers international travel agents and tour operators, or ‘buyers’ the opportunity to connect and do business with Scottish suppliers online.

VisitScotland’s annual Expo travel trade showcase and programmes of business development missions have long facilitated these connections, but Covid restrictions has impacted on that this year.

Reconnect will see 200 buyers undertake virtual meetings with around 200 Scottish tourism businesses, including Visit Moray Speyside, Blervie House and the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

Buyers from the USA, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Scandinavia, Australia and Brazil are attending Scotland Reconnect 2020, as well as London-based inbound operators representing the Japanese and Chinese markets.

In addition to facilitating some 4000 business meetings, there will also be live webinars, round table discussions and breakout sessions, an online presentation hub and virtual experiences demonstrating what Scotland can offer buyers’ clients, including trad music sessions with Gary Innes from top trad band Manran, whisky tasting experiences with Glengoyne Distillery and The Whisky Experience, as well as storytelling with Mercat Tours.

Lord Thurso, VisitScotland’s chairman, will open and close Scotland Reconnect 2020 and participants signed up to the event will also be able to hear from global tourism speakers and take part in round table discussions when VisitScotland’s head of engagement Denise Hill meets in conversation with Tom Jenkins, CEO of the European Tour Operators Association on the impact of Brexit on the German and US markets; and Joss Croft, the CEO of UK Inbound, who will be forecasting for 2021 and considering what businesses need to consider when seeking to address current issues and challenges in global tourism.

VisitScotland’s senior tourism insight manager, Chris Greenwood, will also run sessions on global trends and Covid-time consumer behaviour.

Responsible travel, a theme of growing importance among travelers around the globe, will also feature on the agenda, as will the promotion of initiatives including Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland regional director, said: “This year has been extremely challenging for tourism businesses not only in Moray Speyside but right across Scotland.

Jo Robinson.
Jo Robinson.

“I am delighted that Scotland Reconnect 2020 has been created using our new online platform. We look forward to reconnecting international buyers with Visit Moray Speyside and the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, to demonstrate the strong tourism product we have to offer our visitors, to secure business for the future and to ensure the recovery of our international markets in 2021 and beyond.

“Demand for visiting Moray Speyside once again is building and we look forward to offering a very warm welcome back to these visitors in the future.”

Laurie Piper, chief executive of Visit Moray Speyside, said: “Visit Moray Speyside are looking forward to representing the region’s tourism industry at Scotland Reconnect 2020 later this month.

“Covid-19 prevented us from launching the new organisation at VisitScotland Expo in April, and as the international travel trade is a key market for us, Scotland Reconnect 2020 will be a great opportunity to promote Moray Speyside to both new and established travel trade contacts who are keen to bring visitors to our amazing region as soon as they are able to do so.”

Liz Aungier, director of product and vendor relations at USA-based Tenon Tours, said: “Scotland is very much a key market for Tenon Tours. VisitScotland Expo in Scotland every year is one of my favourite events to attend. Being able to reconnect this year through a virtual event with our valued suppliers is very much welcome as we endeavour to be ready for the return of our clients to Scotland when the time is right.”

Jill Hampton, Account Manager for Scotrail, said: “After a difficult year we are delighted to be part of this virtual event to reconnect with businesses across the globe to showcase what a fantastic country Scotland is. We look forward to our beautiful country being fully reopen for business and this event will be a great opportunity to help international and domestic buyers plan and organise their trips for 2021 and beyond.”



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