Despite the challenges of 2020, Scotland’s tourism industry has opened its doors and hearts to people across the country and VisitScotland believes now is the time to return the love and show our support.

In a new festive campaign, the national tourism organisation is calling on Scots to ‘love local’ this Christmas and support tourism during its time of need.

It highlights that supporting local businesses this winter offers the best chance of protecting them for the future.

Working with partners across the country, the campaign will use the organisation’s hugely popular website and social channels to showcase the vast range of gifts, products and experiences people can enjoy right on their doorstep.

Worth more than £11.5 billion to the Scottish economy, and supporting 1 in 12 jobs, the Scottish tourism industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, subsequent lockdown and travel restrictions.

However, regardless of this, throughout the pandemic, stories of innovation and kindness emerged as businesses offered free stays to frontline workers, made hand sanitisers for communities, and reinvented their products and services to make life easier for those unable to travel. When tourism reopened on 15 July, those within the industry worked tirelessly to make experiences safe and enjoyable once again.

The arrival of new restrictions, in what is traditionally a quieter time of year, has once again hit the industry hard, prompting VisitScotland to call on people across the country to return the favour, supporting the sector that supported them through it all.

Examples of kindness and innovation during the pandemic include:

  • Red Bus Bistro launched its popular afternoon tea for collection and delivery in Glasgow and a virtual whisky experience.
  • Mackintosh at the Willow, currently selling gifts online and doing takeaway afternoon tea packages, added historic blogs to its website and created a Home Sweet Home page sharing different Mackintosh recipes each week.
  • Glasgow Science Centre , currently closed but selling gift vouchers, brought science into people’s homes every day with GSC at home across its social media channels.
  • SocialEyes, a new virtual venue, along with the Jo Cox Foundation will host The Great Winter Get Together - a series of free, virtual events - designed to combat loneliness and help bring communities together, from 14th December to 18th January, donating some of the proceeds to the creative, entertainment and live music industry around the UK
  • Stanelydrive, a chauffeur travel company based in Paisley and Glasgow, supported Accord Hospice by offering its V Class Mercedes (normally used for tours and transfers) to help maintain the vital patient services the Hospice provides with physical distancing measures. · Junkyard Bar & Grill in Hamilton, currently doing deliveries and takeaway only, opened their kitchen and worked one person at a time to deliver meals to local care homes for the staff.

As well as encouraging visitors to put Scottish tourism at the top of their Christmas 2020 wish-lists, the national tourism organisation has also created a dedicated advice page on its website, visitscotland.org, where businesses can learn more about the campaign and how to get involved, as well as accessing advice on promoting themselves to a local audience during the pandemic.

Jim Clarkson, Regional Leadership Director (West), VisitScotland said: “We know that 2020 has been tough for everyone, particularly for those in our valuable, vibrant tourism industry. Yet despite this, many of our tourism businesses in the Glasgow area selflessly put the public’s needs first – creating takeaway services and adapting their offerings so we could safely enjoy exploring our local area. Now many of these tourism businesses are worried for their future and it is our time to support them.”

“Our new love local campaign aims to help people in and around Glasgow support their local businesses and in turn their communities.”

“Whether it’s buying gift vouchers, shopping online or on our high streets, dining out or booking a break on your doorstep; by loving local you are supporting communities during tough times and helping protect the places and businesses you love to visit and rebuilding our valuable visitor economy.”

The Scotland Loves Local campaign, spearheaded by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), has been leading the rallying cry for shoppers to think local first - whether in person or online - to help businesses close to them through the pandemic.

Phil Prentice, STP’s Chief Officer, said: “The ways in which our local businesses have been there for us throughout the coronavirus pandemic has been remarkable. They have innovated to offer new products and services, helped vulnerable members of the community and ensured a safe environment to shop. We must now be there for them and support them in every way we can.”

“It’s so important, whether it be for retail or hospitality, that where we can, we think local first for all of our needs. This will ensure that our local businesses can continue to be there for us in the future.”

“Whether you do it in person or online - to buy a physical item or a gift card - please support the shops, eateries, hotels and all of those close to you. By doing so, you are investing in your community - helping them not only survive the impact of the pandemic, but lay firm foundations for their future.”

To find out more about #ScotlandLovesLocal and learn more about some great ways you can support local this December visit: www.VisitScotland.com/LoveLocal

Issued by: Andy Dewar | Regional Corporate Press Officer (west) | VisitScotland | M:07775542763 | E: [email protected]