A thousand reasons to join VIP scheme

26th Jun 2017

ONE of his most famous novels sold out of its first 1,000 copies within two days and now the home of Sir Walter Scott has become associated with the millennial number once again.

Riddell Graham presents Giles Ingram with the special Waverley artwork at Abbotsford House

Abbotsford, the historic home of Waverley author Sir Walter Scott has become the 1000th business in the country to sign up to VisitScotland’s Information Partner (VIP) programme.

The five star historic house and visitor centre situated on the banks of the River Tweed near Melrose, has now joined an exclusive network of VisitScotland Information Partners (VIPs) by committing to actively promote the local area and services offered by local businesses.

Launched in May 2016, the programme ties in with VisitScotland’s global Spirit of Scotland campaign and harnesses the local knowledge, warmth and enthusiasm of partners across the country to help visitors receive the warmest of welcomes and make the most of their trip to Scotland.

From a luxury chocolate factory and café in the most north-westerly village on mainland Scotland to a gemstone museum in Dumfries & Galloway, and from award-winning restaurants in central Glasgow to libraries in Banchory and Inverurie, the programme includes partners in every region of Scotland and covering all tourism businesses.

The programme has taken the country by storm since it was launched with accommodation providers, visitor attractions and social enterprises all joining up to do their bit to ensure visitors receive first-class information about the local region and Scotland as a whole.

Some regional highlights of the VIP programme are: •In the North, 355 businesses are part of the programme including 16 caravan and campsites, more than 280 other accommodation providers, three restaurants, nine social enterprises and 42 visitor attractions. The Dolphin Spirit boat tours from Inverness was one of the latest additions to the programme in the north. •In the South, there are more than 360 businesses which are part of the programme. These include 69 visitor attractions, 14 camping and caravan parks, around 270 accommodation providers, three restaurants and six social enterprises. •There are 286 businesses involved in the programme in the East of the country. These range from five social enterprises to 57 visitor attractions and around 220 accommodation providers. The newest subscriber to the scheme is Crieff Succeeds BID, a social enterprise supporting the business and events economy in the town. •In the West, there are 290 businesses involved in the programme. These include four social enterprises, ten restaurants and cafes, 53 visitor attractions and more than 230 accommodation providers. One of the most recent additions to the list is social enterprise Tullibody History Group whichruns a heritage centre in the village.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs said:

“Abbotsford is an excellent example of the many wonderful attractions and experiences that await visitors to the south of Scotland.

“In this, the Year of Heritage, History and Archaeology, collaboration is key to ensuring Scotland’s tourism industry can maximise its opportunities. The partner programme provides the opportunity to show Scotland at its very best and to help visitors to experience the warmth of our welcome.”

VisitScotland Director of Partnerships Riddell Graham said: “We are delighted to welcome Abbotsford House to our VIP programme and proud to reach this important milestone just over a year since we launched the scheme as part of our global Spirit of Scotland campaign.

“VisitScotland’sVIP programme aims to ensure that all tourism providers can be local ambassadors and help provide information, assistance and advice on all there is to see and do here.This follows a growing trend among consumers to use online resources to plan their trips and we now have partners throughout the country providing high quality information and advice to visitors with whom they interact.”

Giles Ingram, Chief Executive of Abbotsford, said: “We’re extremely pleased to be partnering with VisitScotland on this programme and to mark the 1000th milestone by celebrating the phenomenal success of Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley.

“Our staff are dedicated to ensuring that visitors to Abbotsford House enjoy a first-class experience and being situated just a short walk from Tweedbank Station, we are ideally located to offer visitors arriving from the Borders Railway information on the wider local area.

“By joining this scheme, not only are we helping to further strengthen and enhance the overall visitor experience at Abbotsford House and the Scottish Borders, we are working together to raise the profile of Scotland as a whole.”

The VIP programme forms part of VisitScotland’s focus on information which also includes a global online community to allow Scots and those who love Scotland to bring alive the streets, characters and landscapes of our country.

It ties in with VisitScotland’s global Spirit of Scotland campaign, harnessing the local knowledge, warmth and enthusiasm of staff at the attractions helping visitors make the most of their trip to Scotland.

The VisitScotland Information Partner programme is open to all Quality Assured businesses, as well as community groups, local authority-operated library services and social enterprises. VisitScotland provides the partner sites with official signage and collateral, promotional material and information resources to make sure visitors receive first-class information about the local region and about Scotland as a whole. For more information, visitwww.visitscotland.org

To find out more about the VisitScotland online community, visit:www.visitscotland.com/community

Pictured is Director of Partnerships at VisitScotland Riddell Graham presenting the special artwork of the complete Waverley novel which sold out of its first 1000 copies in two days to Abbotsford Chief Executive Giles Ingram. The literary artwork was specially created by Spineless Publishing Ltd.

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