VisitAberdeenshire update 10 May 2023

The arrival of the AIDAaura cruise ship from Hamburg in the early hours of 2 May was a spectacle that will live long in the memory of those who witnessed it from the shore. The bold colouring on the hull of this 202m long vessel certainly turned heads as it entered Port of Aberdeen’s colossal South Harbour. As passengers disembarked and set off to explore the City and Shire, the welcome offered by our volunteers, transport providers, retailers, cafés, restaurants and attractions was truly representative of the best of the North-east. Whilst time (and tide) provides this new wave of visitors with only a short sample of our regional offer, the quality of welcome can be an inspiration to return.


A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to bring this step change in cruise ship arrivals to fruition. Beyond the harbour construction, the engagement with cruise operators, shore excursion companies, shuttle buses, volunteers and delivery of a ‘cruise ready’ programme for local businesses and more has all added up to not only deliver the business, but also to create a great visitor experience. It’s a great start, and we look forward to welcoming thousands of more visitors throughout the season.


Chris Foy


Read the key findings from our latest Quarterly Business Monitor

Our latest Quarterly Business Monitor survey asked businesses to look back at trading over the January to March period. Key highlights from the results of the last quarter included increased occupancy/visitor numbers and repeat visits. Barriers reported were along the continued themes of costs and the weather. It Is also positive to see a significant increase in businesses stating they are feeling optimistic about the short-term, as well as the medium- to longer-term.


You can read the full set of findings in our slide deck, together with an easily accessible Factsheet on our website. Read more


The North-east on show at VisitScotland Connect

Last month VisitScotland hosted its new B2B travel trade event in Aberdeen. VisitScotland Connect built on the success of last year’s virtual Scotland Reconnect event, and it was a wonderful opportunity for buyers from around the world to come to the region to meet with some of the very best Scottish trade-ready businesses.


During the event, our team engaged with over 50 buyers who were keen to find out more about the products and experiences in the region. We were also delighted to work with VisitScotland to host a half day familiarisation trip around Aberdeen City, and VisitScotland hosted several trips taking buyers across Aberdeenshire. It was a great opportunity to profile so many wonderful local suppliers across the region.


We run a Travel Trade Ready programme to support businesses to develop products and engage with trade buyers. If you would be interested in finding out more about becoming Travel Trade Ready, email


Welcome to Aberdeenshire Volunteers greet first cruise ship to the New South Harbour

Last week the Port of Aberdeen welcomed the first cruise ship into the New South Harbour. With capacity for more than 1,200 passengers, the AIDAaura is the longest vessel to visit the Port of Aberdeen to date. Passengers were greeted by a 50-strong pipe band, Highland dancers from Robert Gordon’s College and given advice on things to see and do in the region by a team of ‘Welcome to Aberdeenshire’ volunteers.


To help support the volunteers to increase their knowledge of what’s on offer across the region for passengers exploring the destination on their own, we coordinated a Business Update session in which the volunteers had the opportunity to hear from a range of attractions about what they offer. Thank you to the businesses that took time out of their day to take part in the session. If you would be interested in presenting to the volunteers at a future session, please email to register your interest.


New images added to VisitAberdeenshire’s Content Hub

Through our Content Hub, you will find a range of images, videos, music and artwork which you can use in your own marketing, all copyright and royalty free.


We are always adding new images from locations across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and our latest additions are from Duthie Park, Johnston Gardens, Old Aberdeen, Pennan, Pitmedden Gardens, Rattray Head, Slains Castle, Brig o’Balgownie and Castle Fraser.


To download any media, you will first need to create an account and then you will be able to submit requests to download content (note that this is a separate login from the one for your business listing).


Visit the Content Hub


Limited spaces left: Customer and market insights tailored advice sessions

We are working with insights experts 56 Degree Insight, the experts behind the Scottish Tourism Index, to offer tourism and hospitality businesses the opportunity to take part in tailored one-to-one advice sessions designed to provide you with a manageable action plan to gather and analyse customer data and market insights, helping you stay competitive, meet customer demands and drive sustainable growth.


Spaces are limited and offered on a first come, first served basis. If you are interested in taking up this opportunity, please contact Rachel Smith by emailing


Click here to find out more about this opportunity to develop a bespoke insights action plan for your business.


Join us at our next Local Networking Meeting

Last week we held our latest Local Networking Meeting for businesses from the Mearns and Stonehaven area at Castleton Farm. Thank you to everyone who came along, and it was fantastic to catch up with you all and meet some new faces, as well as see some great networking taking place.


Our next Local Networking Meeting will take place on Tuesday 23 May, 5.30pm – 8pm, at 210 Bistro, Aberdeen. During the meeting you will hear an update on our activity and plans for the year ahead, as well as how to get the most out of working with us. Click here to register for the Aberdeen Local Networking Meeting.


Opportunity to present to the VisitAberdeenshire team about your business

Would you like to meet the VisitAberdeenshire team and have the opportunity to speak to us about your business and anything exciting you’ve got planned for the season ahead? We invite businesses to join us on Monday mornings at 10am to present for around 10-15 minutes (slides are optional!), followed by a short Q&A. If you would be, click here to book your preferred time slot



Head of Convention Bureau

Following an organisation restructure, VisitAberdeenshire is recruiting for a new and exciting leadership role to head the Aberdeen Convention Bureau. This role is designed to add significant value to Aberdeen’s competitive position in the business events area, leading the Aberdeen Convention Bureau to generate an uplift in meetings and conventions held in the city. Closing date: Friday 19 May at 12 noon.


Travel Trade Executive

Sitting within the Tourism Development Team, the Travel Trade Executive is responsible for promoting Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to UK and international travel trade intermediaries to grow leisure business across the region. Closing date: Friday 2 June at 12 noon.


Partnerships Executive

The Partnerships Executive will identify external opportunities for the organisation to secure additional ancillary revenues. This is a part-time role, approximately 10-15 hours per week, with flexibility to increase hours to support marketing opportunities delivery where required. Closing date: Friday 2 June at 12 noon.


For more information on these roles, visit our Vacancies page.



Last chance to submit your entry to the Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards

The deadline has been extended for entries to this year’s Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards until 5pm on Monday 15 May.


The awards celebrate the best hospitality and tourism businesses across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and, with 14 categories to choose from, there’s a chance for every tourism business across the region to enter. Winners from the regional awards also go on to represent the region at VisitScotland’s national Thistle Awards.


Submit your entry


European Pipe Band Championships: Advertising and sponsorship opportunities

On 24 June, the European Pipe Band Championships will take place in Aberdeen’s Duthie Park with around 20,000 visitors expected.


In partnership with Aberdeen City Council, a range of sponsorship and advertising opportunities are being offered to help your business reach potential customers, entertain key clients or staff, and show support for bringing high-profile events to the city.


The deadline for submissions for advertising space is 13 May.


Read more


Business Gateway Re-ignition Programme: Upcoming events

As part of its Re-ignition Programme, Business Gateway is hosting a series of masterclasses to guide you in improving your business from a customer perspective. The masterclasses, which take place in locations across Aberdeenshire during May and June, will focus on helping you identify and communication with your customers, as well as how to view your business through your customers’ eyes. Find out when a masterclass is taking place near you


A networking event, focusing on ‘The Power of Introductions and Collaboration’, is also being held on Thursday 18 May, 4.30pm – 7pm, at Raemoir House, Banchory. Read more and book your place


Fair Work Survey for Hospitality Workers

The Fair Work Convention would like to hear from people who work in hospitality across Scotland as part of its inquiry into Scotland’s hospitality sector. There are two surveys – one for workers and one for businesses – and completion of the survey will take around 10 minutes.


Complete the survey


Scottish Agritourism Roadshow visits Aberdeenshire

The Scottish Agritourism Roadshow is coming to Aberdeenshire with a meeting focused on agritourism opportunities. The networking event is open to anyone with an interest in growing agritourism in Scotland, including members of Scottish Agritourism. The event will take place on Tuesday 25 July, 5.30pm – 8.30pm at Marshall’s Farm Shop. Book your place


Labour turnover research – request for participants

A University of Strathclyde PhD researcher is looking for business owners and frontline workers to speak to about their experiences about turnover in hospitality and tourism. All conversations are confidential and can help combat the recruitment crisis. If interested, please contact Jenika Katz at