The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Ayrshire and Arran take the spotlight at Tourism Expo

PUBLIC and private sector partners from Ayrshire and Arran took full advantage of the opportunity to showcase the area during VisitScotland’s annual Expo, which took place at the SECC in Glasgow.

[Pictured: Representatives from Ayrshire and Arran took full advantage of the opportunity to showcase the area during VisitScotland’s annual Expo.]

Expo is Scotland’s flagship business to business event for the travel trade, attracting over 800 buyers from all sectors of the industry including coach tour operators, group travel organisers, conference and incentive buyers, travel agents independent tour operators, wholesalers, and travel trade media specially selected from around the UK and worldwide markets including Europe, USA, Japan, and Australia. Representatives from Iran, Serbia, Pakistan and Turkey were among those from emerging markets attending the show for the first time.

East, North and South Ayrshire Councils came together to work in partnership with tourism operators and visitor attractions from across the area on a custom-built stand designed to highlight the best of Ayrshire and Arran. Leading tourism businesses including Simpsinns, Ayrshire and Arran Visitor Attractions Association, The Park Hotel, VisitArran, Ayr Racecourse, and Scotland’s West Coast Golf Links worked together over the two days to showcase their products and services to key buyers from around the globe, with public sector support staff on hand to provide help and advice on planning group itineraries and packages.

The interest in Ayrshire and Arran’s tourism offer was evident at the show, with the specially commissioned stand drawing a constant stream of enquiries from buyers keen to find out more about all the area has to offer, and other exhibitors admiring the iconic imagery on the stand.

Highlights over the two days included The Open Championship Trophy, the famous claret jug, which was on show on the stand as Jim Mather MSP, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism, visited the stand to launch Scotland’s West Coast Golf Links, a new collaborative marketing project led by the area’s leading golf courses.

In addition to this a collection of travel trade media representatives were treated to a specially arranged Whisky Masterclass hosted by Euan Mitchell, Managing Director of Isle of Arran Distillers, highlighting the strength of the area’s food and drink producers.

Councillor Hugh Hunter, the Leader of South Ayrshire Council said: “In this year of Homecoming it is particularly important that tourists know about the attractions and activities that are available in Ayrshire. The key themes of Homecoming are Burns, Golf, Food and Heritage and in Ayrshire we can deliver to tourists and local people interesting things to do and see connected with these themes. Partnership work is crucial to boosting tourism, it will bring huge economic benefits to an area that relies heavily on tourism.

Mary Simpson of Ayr Racecourse said: “EXPO offered companies like Ayr Racecourse/Western House Hotel the perfect platform to meet with buyers and decision makers from all over the world.

“The Ayrshire & Arran Stand was a huge success and showed the area in a great light and as one of the most attractive tourism areas in the UK. The stand created a united front for our area.”

Philip Riddle, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: “The current economic climate is undoubtedly providing challenges to the tourism industry but with these challenges come opportunities. In order to drive the tourism industry forward it is crucial that both the private and public sectors work together to capitalise on the domestic market and a promising European market. It is encouraging to see Ayrshire and Arran’s presence at VisitScotland Expo providing a great example of best practice in joint working. As a pilot project their co-ordinated stand presence looked fantastic, and with public and private partners working together to maximise their market position and promote cross-selling I am sure the area will reap the benefits in the long term.”

Following the outstanding success of this year’s event, ambitious plans are already underway for an even bigger presence, strengthening Ayrshire and Arran’s position as a key tourism destination, when the show returns to Glasgow in April 2010.

For further information please contact Tricia Irving, Senior Enterprise & Tourism Officer, South Ayrshire Council, telephone 01292 616109 or e-mail or visit the following websites at: or

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