Friends in Scotland and Flanders
As part of the ongoing relationship between VisitScotland and the Family Holiday Association, charity Director John McDonald and Programme Manager John Kinnear attended a round table event in Glasgow on Tuesday (24 January) to discuss the development of social tourism in Scotland.
Also in attendance were Abellio, ASVA (Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions), Calmac Ferries Ltd, Citylink, Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life, Hilton Hotels, Historic Environment Scotland, Loch Lomond Sea Life Centre, SYHA and The Steamship Sir Walter Scott Ltd.
Later the same day, VisitScotland signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to share best practice with one of its European counterparts.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, witnessed the signing of the renewed agreement by Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of the national tourism organisation, and Peter De Wilde, CEO of VisitFlanders, at the Scottish Parliament.
The Belgian region is a world leader in social tourism, helping 150,000 disadvantaged people a year to enjoy a short break or day out . The existing MoU between the tourism organisations helped inspire VisitScotland’s own two successful social tourism pilots in 2016, delivered in partnership with the Family Holiday Association, which last year helped 979 people get a much-needed short break or day trip in Scotland.
The short breaks and daytrips were provided by accommodation, transport and activity providers, as well as strategic partners across the public sector, after an approach by VisitScotland in February as part of a drive to illustrate the true Spirit of Scotland or #ScotSpirit through the warmth and generosity of the people.
With one in three people in Scotland unable to take a holiday due to cost, ill-health or caring responsibilities, VisitScotland is working with businesses to explore how Scottish tourism can help even more people to take a break in Scotland.