The Scotsman: ‘Global tourism’s top brass choose Scotland for holiday’

This article from the Scotsman appeared this morning on my Google Reader feed. It seems that this is an exciting week for Scottish tourism, as well as for St Andrews, as a group of 78 executives from the luxury travel planning industry descend on our country to experience the best of what it has to offer, and hopefully to encourage them to recommend Scotland as the destination of choice for their clients. Read on, or click here to view the article on the Scotsman site.

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SCOTLAND’S tourism industry is set for a huge boost next week, after it emerged that dozens of the world’s most influential travel gurus are to spend a week sampling the best the country has to offer.
Industry leaders hope for a multi-million-pound spin-off after Virtuoso – an invitation-only network of international advisers and agents – picked Scotland for its annual event to reward its top executives.

The “luxury travel” experts specialise in sourcing the most exclusive hotels, rare experiences and privileged access in leading destinations around the world.

The 78 executives are coming to Scotland from the likes of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Australia, after racking up some £1.1 billion worth of business over the past year.

It is hoped the week-long venture will lead to more super-rich business people and celebrities flocking to Scotland in future years, after VisitScotland beat off competition from nine other destinations to host the influential party. Previous locations include India, Peru and Prague.

Next week’s programme will see the group at Stirling Castle enjoying a medieval banquet created by chef Nick Nairn, a private tour of Scone Palace, golf at St Andrews and a cookery demonstration by chef Andrew Fairlie at the Gleneagles resort.

Other activities include horseriding, fly fishing, falconry, shooting, country dancing and whisky tasting.

The Virtuoso network has about 6,000 members, involving about 300 agencies in 22 countries. It is hoped next week’s showcase event will lead to a rise in the number of affiliated businesses in Scotland.

They already include Hotel du Vin at One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow, the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews, Prestonfield Hotel in Edinburgh and the Westin Turnberry Resort.

The group is staying at Gleneagles Hotel, where a “house party” theme has been created to encourage the group to bond and help them to feel “at home” in the five-star resort.

Matthew Upchurch, chief executive of the US-based network, told The Scotsman: “Although most of our party will have been before, this is a real opportunity for them to experience for themselves how things have developed and what kind of experiences are on offer at the moment.”

Scotland’s tourism minister Jim Mather added: “We are honoured to welcome this prestigious group of visitors, who will be experiencing the best of what our country has to offer.

“Scotland needs to be alive to tourism opportunities and continue to look to new and innovative ways of encouraging tourists to come to our great country.”

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