Setting sights on Scotland

Tue 8 Jan 19

A new study, commissioned by VisitScotland, has highlighted the types of offers Scotland’s tourism industry should focus on to appeal to young people.

Recently named by BETA Awards as the Best International Youth Destination*, the exploratory research was conducted as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018. It is being used to gain a deeper insight into lives, drivers, travel motivations and behaviours of young people in the UK to help the industry tap into this market in future years.

The study looked at what Scotland can uniquely offer to young people, highlighting four recommendations for the types of offers that could appeal to younger visitors. These included:

All in 48 hours – an opportunity for young people to create their own stories, using lists to showcase ‘must-dos, making the most of short breaks by coverings key themes such as art, culture and food and drink and positioning lesser-known destinations as the ‘new’ place to be.

Selfies that count – an opportunity for young people to create their own adventures, showcasing intense experiences and challenges with nature through adventure sports and outdoor activities. Using social enjoyment to make a memorable adventure.

Connecting the Dots - an opportunity for young people to make their own discoveries, offering opportunities to combine a number of activities that enable visitors to explore, discover and connect with local culture and history.

Making memories count - an opportunity for young people to spend quality time together, this offer is focused on social enjoyment, creating experiences that are best enjoyed with others and include rest and relaxation.

Identified as a key market for VisitScotland, recent figures from the Office of National Statistics found that visitors from the UK aged 16-34 year old spent £821m to the Scottish economy, generating an average of 3 million trips every year. It is hoped the findings will help the national tourism organisation develop future marketing activity and the wider tourism industry create products which cater for the different values and interest of this generation.

As well as looking at what all visitors look for when planning a holiday experience, the study also identified factors that may be perceived as barriers when considering Scotland as a place to visit, these include limited awareness of the destination, seeing Scotland the same as other destinations, cost and accessibility perceptions and weather expectations.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said: “From outdoor and adventure activities to our world-renowned festivals and cultural events, record numbers of visitors are already enjoying the wide range of authentic experiences our country has to offer and I am determined to build on this success.

“Particularly in this Year of Young People it’s important that we work with the industry to ensure Scotland is considered as a must visit travel destination by young people. I am pleased that this research identifies areas where we can improve our offering and I hope it can help the industry tap into new and younger markets.”

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: “Scotland is the perfect playground for young people. It is an exciting, contemporary destination which seamlessly blends rich history, a vibrant cultural scene and unbelievable beauty.

“This generation, those aged 16-34 years old, is one of the largest in history. These are the visitors of the future and as such represent an important market, not just for VisitScotland, but for the entire global tourism industry. This research will give us a greater understanding of what young visitors want from a holiday. We know that not all young people are the same, they are individuals each with their own values, beliefs and interests. Armed with this knowledge we can work with the Scottish tourism industry to showcase the wealth of unmissable experiences that Scotland has to offer – there really is something for everyone.”

Scotland’s first ever Year of Young People aims to inspire all ages through its young people by celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine.

Through the year, VisitScotland and its partners have been helping raise Scotland’s profile among younger visitors including launching exciting new content partnerships with organisations such as Contiki and Unilad who regularly market to a younger audience.

For more information visit:

*Scotland was named Best International Youth Destination at the British Youth Travel Awards 2018 on 29 November 2018, beating Australia and Canada

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