Falkirk area firms participate in virtual Scotland Reconnect 2020 tourism event

Falkirk district firms were chosen to feature in an inaugural virtual event that linked tourism businesses with global tour operators and travel agents.
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The Scotland Reconnect 2020 pilot took place at the end of November and connected 264 buyers from 23 countries with 240 Scottish suppliers, nine of which were based in Forth Valley.

Its aim was to book and create tour packages for future visitors.

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The event was also the first of its kind to be delivered by VisitScotland and gave tour operators the opportunity to re-book visits and tweak programmes that had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Scotch Whisky Experience was among the participants in the Scotland Reconnect 2020 event. Contributed.The Scotch Whisky Experience was among the participants in the Scotland Reconnect 2020 event. Contributed.
The Scotch Whisky Experience was among the participants in the Scotland Reconnect 2020 event. Contributed.

Events including VisitScotland’s annual Expo travel trade showcase have long been critical platforms for facilitating these connections.

With such exhibitions rendered impossible by Covid-19 restrictions this year, new digital platforms like Reconnect have been developed.

Buyers from the USA, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Australia and Brazil all attended the virtual event, as well as London-based inbound operators representing the Japanese and Chinese markets.

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In addition to facilitating more than 5000 business meetings, there were also live webinars, round table discussions and an online presentation hub.

Virtual experiences also demonstrated what Scotland can offer buyers’ clients and there were traditional music sessions with Gary Innes from Manran, whisky tasting experiences with Glengoyne Distillery and The Scotch Whisky Experience, as well as storytelling with Mercat Tours.

Participants also heard from global tourism speakers, as VisitScotland’s head of engagement Denise Hill met in conversation with Tom Jenkins, CEO of the European Tour Operators Association.

The duo discussed the impact of Brexit on the German and US markets before Ms Hill spoke to Joss Croft, the CEO of UK Inbound, who looked ahead to 2021 and discussed what businesses need to consider when seeking to address current issues and challenges in global tourism.

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Paula Ward, VisitScotland regional leadership director, said: “I am thrilled to announce that our inaugural Scotland Reconnect 2020 event was a great success, demonstrating both enthusiasm and an appetite to return to Scotland as soon as it is deemed safe – and I hope all those who participated would echo that.”

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