40th VisitScotland Expo sees highest number of tourism businesses attending

VisitScotland Expo 2019
The 2019 VisitScotland Expo

VisitScotland Expo is hosting the highest number of tourism businesses in its history as it celebrates the 40th staging of the flagship travel trade event.

The best and brightest of Scotland’s tourism industry are being showcased to the world, highlighting that our country is still open for business.

This is a significant year for the national tourism organisation as 2019 marks VisitScotland’s 50th anniversary and the 40th edition of VisitScotland Expo.

The event, which is taking place at the SEC (Scottish Event Campus) in Glasgow on 10 and 11 April, sees over 340 businesses and more than 550 buyers from across the world attending as it hits the big 4-0. It also comes after Scotland declared its enduring relationship with Europe in a heartfelt message to demonstrate that Scotland is open with a campaign that launched on the 29th March, the original date that the UK had planned to leave the EU.

Buyers have flown in from 28 different countries including Brazil, Australia, U.S, China, Germany, and France – as well as support from Delta Airlines, Finnair, Hainan and Jet2 delivering top tour operators – to experience what Scotland has to offer and make connections with Scottish suppliers.

Delegates attending VisitScotland Expo will also participate in familiarisation (fam) trips to the region, to give them a real-life first-hand experience of the types of holidays they will be able to provide to customers.

VisitScotland Expo began as the Scotland’s Travel Trade Fair in 1980 before being rebranded in 2001. It has grown into Scotland’s premier business to business event giving tour operators and travel agents from across the globe the chance to meet Scottish tourism businesses and learn about their products and services– all under one roof. Last year saw over 300 companies showcased with over 9,500 pre-made appointments taking place.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “VisitScotland Expo allows businesses – including accommodation providers, visitor attractions and activity providers – to showcase their products and services to hundreds of tour operators and travel agents from all over the world.

“This annual event is a key opportunity to firmly place Scotland on the travel trade’s radar and it is wonderful to see so many new and returning businesses getting involved.

We welcome visitors from across the EU every year and we look forward to continuing to do this. Six of Scotland’s top 10 markets for overseas visitors are in the European Union so an event like VisitScotland Expo is vital for enriching the links between Scotland’s tourism industry and buyers from there and beyond. It is encouraging to have so many buyers attending the event showing that they know Scotland is open for business.

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience it is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community, generating income, jobs and social change. We need to encourage the industry to provide world class service, facilities, events and attractions to keep up with ever-changing consumer demands and ensure visitors continue to have memorable experiences.”

As always, Scotland is playing host to world-class events in 2019 outside of VisitScotland Expo with The Solheim Cup – the biggest event in women’s golf – being held at Gleneagles in Perthshire in September.

Tourism is one of Scotland’s most valuable industries, creating job opportunities, sustaining communities and ultimately contributing billions to the Scottish economy. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Development of Tourism Act 1969 which led to the creation of an official Scottish Tourist Board. VisitScotland will be celebrating this important milestone throughout the year, sharing the success with its industry colleagues and partners. 

This year also sees VisitScotland Expo gearing up for the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020. Scotland’s diverse coastal scenery, ranging from dramatic cliffs and sea stacks to gleaming white beaches, offers an unparalleled range of experiences. 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, throughout the whole of next year. 

The latest stories