Stevie comes to Eildons to help sell Scotland abroad

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AN image featuring the Eildon Hills will be seen by thousands of Europeans as the country’s official tourism organisation launches the second year of its biggest European tourism campaign entitled Meet the Scots, writes Mark Entwistle.

The VisitScotland campaign has already netted £97million in additional tourism revenue for Scotland and the Eildons, along with Borders outdoor activity fan Stevie Christie, are being used in a print and on-line campaign targeting Scotland’s biggest European markets.

A Bridge too far.......Stevie Christie and his own cut-out take a slip on a rope bridge at the launch of VisitScotland's European Touring campaign, which has injected �TBCm into the Scottish economy. This is the second year of the campaign after the success of last year with Stevie one of four new faces brought on board to help head up the campaign whose faces will be seen all over Europe.

A Bridge too far.......Stevie Christie and his own cut-out take a slip on a rope bridge at the launch of VisitScotland's European Touring campaign, which has injected �TBCm into the Scottish economy. This is the second year of the campaign after the success of last year with Stevie one of four new faces brought on board to help head up the campaign whose faces will be seen all over Europe.

Stevie, from Edinburgh, is one of four new faces to represent Scotland in this year’s campaign. Each person photographed represents their particular passion for Scotland – each introducing a theme which helps to bring Scotland to life for potential European visitors.

The latest themes include traditional crafts, art and creativity pre-history and active and adventure travel, which it is hoped will encourage more Europeans to Scotland as this is the year of Active Scotland. Other ongoing themes include wildlife, island-hopping, food and drink, fashion, music, gardens and golf.

Stevie is a regular visitor to the Borders, and waxes lyrical about the 7stanes mountain bike trails at Glentress as well as the fantastic walking opportunities available in the region.

Organisers say the £900,000 campaign will inspire thousands of visitors from Europe to visit Scotland and bring a welcome boost in these difficult economic times. The e-marketing campaign will feature historic towns such as Kelso, attractions including Traquair House, the Forest of Yair, Sir Walter Scott and Abbotsford, the Hawick Reivers Festival and walking on the Southern Upland Way.

VisitScotland’s head of international marketing, Denise Hill says the Borders landscape is both exhilarating and inspiring and that the Meet the Scots campaign appears to be working, with almost £97million delivered to the Scottish economy at a time when tight budgets are impacting on the plans of holidaymakers all over the world.

“Stevie will join four other Scots to talk about activities and adventure in the Scottish Borders and throughout Scotland,” she said.

“Introducing Scots as ambassadors is a great way to reel in potential visitors. European visitors are particularly keen on this – the type of insider knowledge delivered via the campaign really helps them to make the most of their own adventure in Scotland.

“Using our Scots to front the campaign allows us to provide consumers with a greater depth of information and insider tips – the kind of things you don’t find in the guidebooks.

“The range of different Scots we present in the campaign, each with their own particular Scottish passion, means that we are able to broaden perceptions around what Scotland offers as a holiday destination.

“Stevie, for instance, photographed in the Scottish Borders, tells a great story about adventure activities in Scotland and speaks to more active travellers introducing what’s on offer in 2011, year of Active Scotland.”

Scottish tourism attracted almost 1.3 million European visitors during the first three quarters of 2010 who spent £686million while in Scotland – a rise in European visitor spend of 11 per cent compared with the same period of 2009.

The new campaign runs until June and is designed to promote Scotland as an ideal touring destination, every month of the year.