Scottish tourism chief says message to overseas visitors is 'dream now, travel later'
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Demand for Scotland as a visitor destination remains as strong as ever despite the pandemic, according to the chief executive of the national tourism organisation.
VisitScotland's Malcolm Roughead said the restrictions on international travel mean it is unclear what the coming season will look like – but tourism businesses should be ready to move quickly to take advantage of any opportunities.
For the time being, he added, the promotional message would be "dream now, travel later".
He was speaking as VisitScotland issued details of a digital trade workshop this spring that will give Scottish firms a chance to do business with tour operators and travel agents from around the globe.
Scotland Reconnect 2021 is scheduled for April 27-29 and VisitScotland expects around 7500 business meetings over the three days. The event opens for registrations on March 8.
Given the constraints on travel, Scotland Reconnect 2021 will be held instead of the VisitScotland Expo live workshop which would normally have been an annual fixture for the industry.
It follows a successful inaugural digital event last November when 264 buyers from 23 countries met with 240 Scottish tourism businesses, operators and destination organisations.
Tourism industry delegates will have an opportunity to engage one-to-one with travel trade representatives from key overseas markets as well as round-table discussions on issues affecting world travel and tourism.
Mr Roughead said: “With restrictions still in place for both UK and international travel, it is unclear what the upcoming tourism season will look like.
“It is vital we continue to engage with our international partners on a ‘dream now, travel later’ basis so that, should the situation allow, we can move quickly to take advantage of any opportunities which may arise.
“We know that demand for Scotland as a destination remains as strong as ever with our history, heritage and outdoor experiences among the best in the world.
“We want everyone in our industry that is trade-ready to help meet that demand when it is safe for international visitors to return.”
Further information on VisitScotland’s response to the pandemic can be found here.