Enjoy Scotland’s great outdoors ... from indoors

A virtual hug has been sent to everyone who loves exploring Scotland’s treasures, from our historic castles to stunning coastline.

By Julie Currie
Sunday, 5th April 2020, 5:14 pm
My favourite castle....but then I'm biased, as a daughter of the rock having been born in Stirling!
My favourite castle....but then I'm biased, as a daughter of the rock having been born in Stirling!

VisitScotland has created a heart-warming film for people, near and far, asking them to dream about visiting now, but to travel later.

Thanks to coronavirus, the country’s tourism industry is facing its toughest-ever challenge.

So our national tourism organisation wanted to send a message of hope for a future when people, both at home and abroad, are able to travel again.

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The marketing team put their heads together, while working from home, to create the short film.

It aims to remind visitors what Scotland has to offer, trigger memories of previous visits and, most importantly, remember that while a visit isn’t possible right now, it will be here when COVID-19 has finally been eradicated.

Built around the idea that absence makes the heart grow fonder, the film features stunning visuals – from the Calanais Standing Stones in the Western Isles to Stirling Castle, Lunan Bay in Angus to St Abbs in the Borders and Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire to Elie in Fife.

Vicki Miller, director of marketing at VisitScotland, said: “While many countries are in lockdown with travel restrictions in place, we wanted to send a message of support and hope to our friends around the world.

Beauty spot....if you've never visited Lunan Bay, make sure this Angus treasure is on your list post lockdown. It's stunning.

“We want to assure them that, while they can’t visit just now, we will still be here with a warm welcome for them when the time is right.

“By launching this video, we are encouraging fans of Scotland to share their love for the country by posting memories of their trips here in the past and help them and others dream about their next holiday to Scotland.

“This new film has been created by our marketing team, working from their own homes, to continue to raise Scotland’s profile.

“While we weren’t able to film new content, we made use of our existing footage to remind visitors what Scotland has to offer.

No matter the weather, Dunnottar Castle near Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire never fails to take your breath away.

“We’re sending it from our heart to yours, right across the globe.”

VisitScotland has also been busy in recent weeks, working with the Scottish Government and other key partners to help businesses affected by COVID-19.

Vicki added: “We recognise the tourism industry has been hit extremely hard.

“We are already working with them to look at a recovery plan once the timing is appropriate.

As pretty as any foreign postcard, Elie in the East Neuk of Fife is always worth a visit.

“We know that tourism has the potential to play a key role in Scotland’s economic recovery.

“We’re hopeful the strong emotion people have for Scotland across the globe will help a little in this very difficult time.

“That’s why we wanted to create something emotionally engaging that would remind everyone what a great country we have.”

Tourism businesses can find COVID-19 advice and resources on the website at www.visitscotland.org.

The film is available now on VisitScotland’s You Tube channel, with subtitles in German, Spanish, French, Dutch, Italian and Mandarin.

It was launched on Friday, just ahead of the Easter holidays which is traditionally a busy time for our tourism industry.

The traditional fishing village of St Abbs in Berwickshire is also a must-do when the lockdown comes to an end.

If you’re missing exploring some of your favourite haunts, the film is well worth a look.

But be warned: you may well have a wee lump in your throat while you do – absence, even for us Scots, truly does make the heart grow fonder.

Helpline for business owners

On March 23, the UK and Scottish Governments announced that all non-essential premises had to close in the effort to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

That saw a host of businesses shutting up shop, including hotels, hostels, B&Bs and self catering accommodation; caravan parks, campsites, holiday parks and motorhome hire firms; museums and galleries; and restaurants, cafes and public houses.

There was also an immediate stop to public gatherings of more than two people in a bid to protect both the NHS and the publc.

A helpline – 0300 303 0660 – providing businesses across Scotland with advice and guidance on COVID-19 was launched by the Scottish Government on March 13.

It is open Monday to Friday, from 8.30am to 5.30pm. Callers should select option one to speak to the COVID-19 team. Information is also available at findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/coronavirus-advice.