Monday 21 February 2011

Understand How To Work With Film, TV and Advertising

Are you in the picture or do you want to be? If so, then this is your opportunity to learn more about what is involved in working with Film, TV and Advertising organisations and how to generate alternative sources of income from your "picture perfect" assets.

The SRPBA, South West Scotland Screen Commission, Tods Murray LLP, Creative Scotland and Annandale Estates have teamed together to produce what will be a stimulating and informative Demo day.

In the morning session at Raehills you will learn from the experience of location providers working with film and television companies, hear from Scotland’s senior professional advisers and from the UK’s top location managers. We are also privileged to have film producer Clare Kerr along to speak about her experiences.

The Question and Answer session will allow delegates time to freely ask questions of the panel who will not only include the mornings earlier speakers but also landowners with experience of productions taking place on their grounds and others involved in the actual production process.

This Demo Day is aimed at raising awareness of the opportunities and challenges in working with movies and commercials. The event is open to all but will especially be of interest to landowners, country house owners, professional advisers and land managers.

Lunch will be provided at Raehills. The event is free but there will be a small charge of £15.00 + VAT per head to help defray the estate costs of the day.

Contact: Joyce Karch, SRPBA, Stuart House, Eskmills Business Park, Musselburgh, EH21 7PB or email by Wednesday 23 February 2011.

Do We Make the Most of our Literary Tourism?

Interesting article in the P&J over the weekend looking at the literary hiertitage of Scotland through a new publication. It's one of those obvious things to do on your hotel website or email marketing but how often is it actually done.

For example if you had a hotel near the Brig o' Doon in Alloway would you not immerse your online visitors and real guests with the story of Tam o' Shanter, the witch and the horses tail? Well yes you probably should...

The article stated that,

"The bookworms’ tour of Scotland features attractions like Kilmarnock Arms Castle at Cruden Bay, where Bram Stoker penned Dracula, and Aberdeen Grammar School, which counts Lord Byron among its former pupils.

Literary Scotland: A Traveller’s Guide highlights 60 locations throughout the country, including the stunning settings for world-famous novels, the scenery that inspired poets and the birthplaces of some of the country’s most distinguished writers. It will be available from VisitScotland information centres and online from Monday.

The guide was written by Alan Riach, a noted poet and Professor of Scottish Literary Studies at Glasgow University. He said he hoped it would encourage readers to get out and explore the land which has inspired so many writers."

“So many people – whether visitors or resident Scots – might not know how steeped in literature the landscapes they drive through or live in really are.”

Scottish author Iain Banks, writer of more than 20 novels, including the Bridge, Complicity and the Crow Road, said the guide was “a valuable introduction to the many fascinating links between Scotland and literature”.

VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said: “Scotland has been a rich source of inspiration for writers for centuries. We have seen a lot of interest from people visiting film locations in Scotland, so we hope the literary angle will have a similar effect.”

Read the full article at the Press and Journal more:

Young Scottish Restaurateur & Hotelier Awards Finalist Announced

Great to see careers options being flagged up in a different way with the annoucnement of the finalists for a couple of prestigious awards. The follwoing is reproduced from Scotland Food and Drink.

The search for the nation's most promising talent in the hospitality industry has come to a conclusion with the final judging for the 2011 ScotHot Young Scottish Restaurateur and Young Hotelier of the Year.

Having reached the final stage of the competition, 14 of Scotland's brightest young stars of the hospitality sector faced a day of interviews with some of the industry's leading experts, including Stephen Carter OBE, Rob Moore, chairman of the Institute of Hospitality and Ian Burke, editor of

The finalists are:

Young Scottish Restaurateur of the Year
  • Liam Bedwell, WEST Brewery, Bar & Restaurant, Glasgow
  • Scott Devine, The Merrylee Bar & Kitchen, Glasgow
  • Paul McCutcheon, e:s:I, Edinburgh
  • Stephen Morrison, La Vallée Blanche, Glasgow
  • Hannah Norman, Room with a View, Aberdour
  • Daniella Sarti, Sarti, Glasgow
  • Jon Whitton, Ricks, Edinburgh
Young Scottish Hotelier of the Year Award
  • Calum Lawrie, Park Inn Radisson, Aberdeen
  • Danielle Lee, Crown Court Hotel, Inverness
  • Barry Rowland, Jurys Inn, Edinburgh
  • Hina Simpson, Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh
  • Nick Sharp, The Inch Hotel, Fort Augustus
  • Peter Walker, Meldrum House Country Hotel & Golf Course, Aberdeen
Sponsored by, the prestigious award offers a "money can't buy" prize and invaluable experience, working alongside two of Scotland's biggest industry heavyweights, Michelin-starred chef, Martin Wishart and respected hotelier Stephen Carter, managing director of Cameron House.

The winning restaurateur will earn themselves an exclusive work placement with Martin Wishart, including hosting a lunch at Restaurant Martin Wishart as Maitre'D. Meanwhile, the winning hotelier will receive a fantastic prize including a work placement with Stephen Carter at Cameron House on Loch Lomond.

This exciting competition celebrates the very best of Scotland's new talent, recognising young Scottish restaurateurs under 30 and offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from the very best professionals in the industry.

Judges are looking for individuals who have already helped to make a significant difference to their establishment, demonstrating strong, inspirational leadership skills and commitment to exceptional customer care.

Stephen Carter said: "The standard of entries has been overwhelming and all of the finalists should be proud of reaching this stage. I hope that the launch of this award will go a long way to highlight the need for investment in Scottish hospitality and the importance of encouraging, the next generation of leaders in the industry."

Ian Burke of said: "I think it is fantastic that ScotHot is doing so much to recognise the industry's young talent. As recently demonstrated by the popularity of BBC's Michel Roux Jnr's The Service, this is a skilled and challenging profession.

"It is vital to the growth of Scotland's important hospitality sector that we continue to encourage emerging young talent."

The winner will be announced during ScotHot 2011 which takes place at the SECC, Glasgow from 28 February-3 March.

Scottish Food Tourism Events March 2011

Pick up some great tips for making the most of Scottish produce at these forthcoming events:

EventScotland Food & Drink Seminar,
Ocean Point, Edinburgh, Thursday 3rd March

To mark the Year of Food & Drink, EventScotland has organised a free seminar to explore ways in which the event and food & drink industries can strengthen links to deliver high quality food & drink experiences for visitors to Scottish events. To secure your place contact

Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions Food Forum,
Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Ayr, Wednesday 16th March

The ASVA Food Forum is a must for all visitor attractions looking to improve their food and drink offer. Discussion will focus around how attractions can go about sourcing and buying local produce. There is no cost to ASVA members to attend. To register interest contact

Profit on a Plate,
Edinburgh New Town Cookery School, Monday 21st March.

Designed by ETAG for restaurant, bar or bistro owners, chefs and food and beverage buyers, ‘Profit on a Plate’ is a unique opportunity to learn how to use Scottish produce to improve your profits and will include professional demonstrations, tastings, advice on imaginative menu ideas and a chance to meet local suppliers. £25 per person. To register your interest please email

Provenance on a Plate

A toolkit which helps caterers provide consumers with more information about the origins of the food and drink available in Scotland's hotels, cafes, pubs and restaurants was launched in 2010. Designed as a code of practice, it aims to clarify legal requirements and best practice guidelines for food and drink origin declarations on menus and provide clear, accurate and consistent information to consumers when eating out.
If you’d like to make more of the Scottish food and drink on your menu, check out the toolkit at

More about Scotland Food & Drink

This article is reproduced from Experiencing Scotland Update dated February 2011 - if you have any articles you wish to publish on TourismMatters email us the link or document

Scotland Food & Drink, the leadership organisation for the food & drink industry in Scotland, runs a successful Access to Markets programme that aims to help food & drink companies gain new business opportunities across the UK retail & foodservice sectors, organising activities such as Meet the Buyer and Buyer Briefings; Exhibitions and Workshops; and Supplier Development Programmes.

Working with everyone from independent and multiple retailers to wholesalers, hotel & restaurant groups and contract caterers, this helps to increase the demand for Scottish produce, grow the industry and enhance Scotland’s reputation as a Land of Food & Drink. For further information on the programme and how Scotland Food & Drink can help you source Scottish produce, contact Fiona Richmond, Tel: 0131 335 0947 or visit:

At you’ll also be able to access a range of INSIGHTS. Through INSIGHTS you will be able to find a wealth of information that will keep you informed and up to date in areas such as market intelligence, the economy, emerging innovation and general news.

The Buyers Guide will help you identify food and drink products, producers and suppliers to meet your needs. To make it easy, you can search by product, market type or location, so if you’re looking to add more Scottish food and drink produce to your menu, the Buyers Guide is a great starting point!

The ‘How Do I…’ guides are an invaluable source of business advice to help you develop and grow your business, access new market opportunities and get export advice and legislative guidance. There are also case studies on successful Scottish food and drink businesses.

You’ll also be able to sign up to receive updates from Scotland Food & Drink, bringing you all the latest news from across the food and drink industry in Scotland.

Developing Scottish Tourism Events

This article is reproduced from Experiencing Scotland Update dated February 2011 - if you have any articles you wish to publish on TourismMatters email us the link or document

‘A Taste for Events’ is a guide to help event planners showcase the very best of Scotland’s mouth-watering larder. It offers simple and expert advice to anyone organising an event and is essentially a one-stop shop with contacts for local food groups, farmers’ markets, professional caterers, certification schemes and all the people who can help make an event more attractive and more successful. 

Download a copy of the guide at

Practical resources to help you develop a Scottish food & drink offer

This article is reproduced from Experiencing Scotland Update dated February 2011 - if you have any articles you wish to publish on TourismMatters email us the link or document
The new ‘Food and Drink Experience in Scotland’ guide from Tourism Intelligence Scotland gives some great hints and tips on how to introduce Scottish food and drink to your menu and promote its provenance, giving you an opportunity to attract a greater number of higher-spending and longer-staying visitors, increase recommendations and provide valuable support for local businesses and the local economy.

The guide takes you through the reasons why quality, local food and drink is so important, highlights the latest market and visitor trends and features inspiring ideas from other providers throughout the country, as well as signposting to opportunities and sources of help and information to help you increase your appeal to visitors.

‘At Your Service – A Practical Guide to Delivering the Best Food and Drink Experience in Scotland’ contains information for front line staff in tourism businesses and gives them easy reference facts about different food types, a visual calendar of seasonality, background information on classic Scottish dishes and drinks, and hints and tips on how to ‘up-sell’ to customers.

The TIS website also contains a great range of food and drink resources, including:
  • Case studies on providers using Scottish food and drink to grow their business
  • Information on traditional Scottish foods
  • Tasty recipes using Scottish produce
  • Information on how to purchase fresh food
  • Tips on how to present a Scottish menu
  • A guide to what’s in season when
  • Ideas for improving the Scottish food experience for overseas visitors
To access the guides and resources, register FREE at

1-2-1 business support from Scottish Enterprise

This article is reproduced from Experiencing Scotland Update dated February 2011 - if you have any articles you wish to publish on TourismMatters email us the link or document

Scottish Enterprise has launched a 1-2-1 business support scheme to help tourism businesses make the most of the food and drink produced in Scotland at major events, visitor attractions, hotels and restaurants.

The support is available at nominal cost and includes: an induction to business tools and support networks; up to 2 days direct support, reviewing menu offering, service delivery, purchasing, marketing, staff skills and financial performance; a bespoke business action plan; referrals to suppliers, and additional telephone support as required.

Businesses eligible for support include:
  • Visitor attractions with over 250,000 visitors annually
  • Hotel groups operating across Scotland
  • Conference venues
  • Sporting venues involved in international events
  • National carriers
  • Events attracting UK and international visitors
Businesses seeking further information on the one-to-one support should contact: Scottish Enterprise, Tel. 0845 607 8787 or email

Grow your business with Scottish food and drink

This article is reproduced from Experiencing Scotland Update dated February 2011 - if you have any articles you wish to publish on TourismMatters email us the link or document

Research undertaken by Scottish Enterprise during 2009 indicated that visitors prefer to buy food and drink with local provenance, that is food ‘with a story behind it’ of where, when, how and by whom it was produced. It also found that businesses and events providing locally sourced Scottish food enhance their visitors’ experience and typically enjoy higher levels of sales - on average 20% more per year.

With three out of four visitors saying that eating local cuisine would enhance their visit – and with Scottish produce currently only accounting for around 60% of food and drink sales at tourism venues across the country - we have a huge opportunity to increase the use of fresh ingredients and local dishes to attract new, first time visitors, enhance their visitor experience and entice them back.

Whether you’re a small B&B or a large visitor attraction, providing good food for visitors will also improve your bottom line. On average, visitors could spend nearly £1 more on food and drink at your business if you offered authentic local and Scottish produce. That could amount to £94 million in additional sales across the country if we were all to offer this!

For a summary of the Experiencing Scotland research go to

Friday 18 February 2011

Scottish Tourism Week Updates

The Scottish Tourism Forum (STF) has announced details of this year's Scottish Tourism Week which will take place throughout Scotland from the 28th February - 4th March 2011. The week is aimed at raising the awareness of tourism as Scotland's most important and most sustainable industry and this year's theme is 'Tourism, the heart for the Scottish economy'.

Scottish Tourism Week, which was initiated by the Scottish Tourism Forum in 2006, connects on a business to business level and encourages politicians to engage with tourism businesses in order to better understand the issues facing tourism businesses. Iain Herbert, STF Chief Executive, said: "Scottish Tourism Week will bring the private sector, public sector and the elected sector together under one positive agenda, that is, how we can work together to drive forward tourism in Scotland.We are determined to build on the success of previous Scottish Tourism Weeks in order to create a positive political climate for growth in tourism, which will in turn support and attract greater levels of private investment."

One of the focal events is the Scottish tourism industry conference. JimMather, Minister of Enterprise, Energy and Tourism, will open the conference on Tuesday 1st March at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh. Delegates will hear from key industry figures and have the opportunity to debate and discuss topical issues including an MSP tourism debate. Other highlights of STW include a Parliamentary Reception at Holyrood (co-sponsored by STF, the Caravan Club and VisitScotland) on Tuesday 1st March, hosted by Iain Smith, MSP, Convenor of the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee and an industry dinner at the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh on Monday 28th February where guests will be addressed by John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth.

The week includes the launch of the week in partnership with ScotHot at the SECC in Glasgow, a three day event and exhibition from the 28th February - 2nd March which will be opened by Jim Mather, Minister of Enterprise, Energy and Tourism. The event features a wide range of activity including seminar sessions with Peter Taylor, Stephen Carter and a range of other guest speakers as well as the live cookery demonstrations and exhibition activity.

During the week Springboard Scotland is calling on employers in hospitality, leisure and tourism to help promote the industry as a Great Place to Work raising awareness of the wide range of opportunities and exciting full time careers available. The week will also see activity at ScotHot and the MSP reception to include a schools competition designing and producing canapés for the MSP reception at Holyrood in partnership with Sedexo.

STF is grateful to our sponsors for supporting Scottish Tourism Week: The Caravan Club, British Holiday & Home Park Association, VisitBritain, VisitScotland, Tartan Ink and The Balmoral Hotel.
For more information contact Elaine Townsend at the Scottish Tourism Forum on 0131 220 6321 or email or Iain Herbert, Chief Executive, Scottish Tourism Forum at

Ian Bunch Retires from Role at SWCGL

Following his recent retiral from his position as Secretary at Prestwick Golf Club, Ian Bunch has now passed the baton on with regards to Scotland's West Cost Golf Links.

Ian was instrumental not only in the creation of Scotland's West Coast Golf Links but also in the earlier set up of Golf Tourism Scotland. His enthusiasm for and understanding of the golf tourism sector made both contributions invaluable and his presence in Ayrshire's golfing circles will be missed.

SWCGL however will now look to appoint a new chair to take the marketing group forward. In line with the changes there will be a new Executive Committee set up to develop the new strategies required to deal with the current challenges and this committee will meet early in March and be comprised of four golf course representatives, one golf professional and a hotelier.

Anyone looknig for further information on how Scotland's West Coast Golf Links can work with your business should in the meantime contact administrator Ian McCaig on 01292 521404.

New Bunker for Dundonald Links

Once again the greens crew at Dunonald Links are hard at work reconstructing the 9th fairway bunker, making it more of a challenge for your return visit to Dundonald.

Currently the 9th is playing as a long par 3. Upon completion it will be sure to test your golfing ability and add new character to an already challenging hole here at Dundonald Links.

Monday 7 February 2011

The Personal Touch - A High Altitude Example

Tourism Matters...

For those of us involved in a day to day basis with hospitality and tourism we almost accept that "Tourism Matters" as a given but it still never fails to impress me when I encounter examples of others going that extra mile for no personal gain nor financial reward other than the pleasure of sharing the wonders of a destination, their place, with the visitor.

Perhaps we don't share those experiences often enough.

I encountered, first hand, just what a difference a positive visitor attitude can make whilst skiing last week in the French Alpine resort of Courcheval.

Through a chance meeting we were introduced to a chalet owner who proceeded over the subsequent days to advise us on snow conditions, restaurants to avoid, apres ski not to miss, why you should buy black coffees and not cafe au lait and even trying very hard to fix the traditional (okay ancient) parallel skiing technique of the author and replace it with something that made at least some minimal use of the carver skis I'd hired.

This is not one of those "this is what Scotland needs to do to catch up" monologues. On reflection I could think of a couple of dozen operators and perhaps hundreds of individuals who do go that extra mile for their guests every day but sometimes, even the best intentioned of us, can forget that the best thing you can do with knowledge is share it. And that was driven home to me by the efforts of a single individual in the past seven days.

How much value was added to our trip by the friendliness and passion of that one person? Almost incalculable - from the informal ski tips, the honing of off piste skills, the recommendations of social highlights and the (literal) mountain high points - the time of one individual really made a massive difference to the overall experience.

We were lucky? Yeah probably but for all of the ski tour operators out their with gap year chalet maids and resort reps, with transfer drivers and meet and greeters this was an example of best practice that we should all be trying to replicate and not just for the sake of it either but because it makes bloody good business sense.

There were three of us on that trip and each one of us will return to the Trois Vallees area more often and sooner than we would have before because of the experience. We will talk about the area more knowledgeably and by sharing those experiences others we know will consider Le Praz instead of La Tania or 1550 or 1650.

In Scottish tourism terms, over the years I have experienced, particularly in the golf tourism market, the value of customer service, and repeat business and referrals based on what an individual driver or guide or caddy can give to the visiting golfer.

I still take providing customer service for granted (and as a result perhaps don't do it as well as I should?); it's perhaps only more eye opening when you are the receiver, and you can personally understand the difference individuals can make to the guest experience.

Anyway, in spite of the grey, rain laden clouds of an Ayrshire February morning it is still good to be positive and to be reminded about the differences each of us can make in every phone call, email and conversation.

It may even inspire someone far away to write about you!

PS. If you are looking for a catered chalet in Les Trois Vallees you could do worse than clicking on the link!