VisitAberdeenshire update 23 March 2023

The travel media love a good story. What’s new, what’s different, where is far from the madding crowd, or what’s in with the in crowd. Fortunately, the North-east is bursting with great story angles that get our tourism sector into the headlines. Since we ramped up our PR activity in 2021, we have secured around 50 travel features in influential titles by focussing on two essential ingredients in the media mix: hosting press visits to the region and taking our story to them. This week we welcomed 30 travel and lifestyle writers to our second annual media reception at Scotland House in London, generating considerable interest in our destination for future features. Do you have a great news story that will make Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire shine? Do let us know.


Chris Foy


Would you like to learn how to create a more inclusive welcome?

Did you know that the inclusive tourism market is estimated to be worth £15.3bn expenditure per annum to the UK visitor economy?


We are delighted to offer two workshops next week designed to help tourism businesses in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire identify the market opportunity and give advice on how to develop and market inclusive experiences.


Inclusive Tourism – Market Values & Opportunities | 29 March


Being accessible to a wide range of people with disabilities, visible or non-visible, is not only a legislative requirement, it can also help you to respond to an ageing population and develop and improve your visitor experience to attract new audiences. This doesn’t necessarily mean investment in infrastructure and facilities as there are many actions you can implement at little or no cost to broaden your appeal to this market segment, known for its high level of customer loyalty.   


Our inspirational keynote speaker is Mike Adams, OBE, Chief Executive of Purple. You will also hear market insights from Deirdre O’Donnell, VisitAberdeenshire Insights & Evaluation Manager and Marina DiDuca, Inclusive Tourism Manager at VisitScotland will outline VisitScotland activity and opportunities. 


This workshop is suitable for anyone looking to develop an inclusive visitor experience. By attending this workshop, participants will: 


  • Learn about the importance of the market and how implementing inclusive practices can benefit your business  
  • Identify the opportunities to access the inclusive tourism market 
  • Gain insights on developing an inclusive customer experience and attracting new customers 


Date: Wednesday 29 March 2023 

Registration opens: 9:30am for tea and coffee and a chance to network 

Time: 10am – 12.00pm followed by a light lunch 

Venue: P&J Live, East Burn Road, Stoneywood, Aberdeen, AB21 9FX 


Register for the Inclusive Tourism - Market Values & Opportunities workshop


Welcoming All Customers | 31 March


Do you want to provide an inclusive customer experience and attract new customers? Creating a welcoming and comfortable environment for customers with disabilities and other individuals with specific needs can lead to increased revenue and customer loyalty.  This training day, delivered by Welcome to Excellence, will help you to unlock the business benefits of an inclusive welcome.  


Ideal for frontline staff and managers looking to create inclusive customer experiences, participants will learn about: 


  • How to adopt a positive attitude to all customers and anticipate accessibility requirements 
  • Legal obligations and types of discrimination 
  • The business benefits of accessibility and inclusivity 
  • Successful communication styles to identify customer needs 
  • The wide spectrum and range of accessibility requirements 


This course is designed to boost confidence in interacting with disabled customers and looks at how small changes can make all the difference. Suitable for anyone who interacts with customers, participants will receive a handbook full of practical tips and reminders about how to make facilities and services accessible and inclusive.  


Spaces are limited so register now for this 1-day course filled with practical tips on providing a warm welcome for all customers. 


Date: Friday 31 March 2023 

Registration opens: 9:00am for tea and coffee and a chance to network 

Time: 9:30am – 4.30pm including lunch and refreshments  

Venue: Leonardo Hotel and Conference Venue Aberdeen Airport, Argyll Road, Aberdeen, AB21 0AF 


Register for the Welcoming All Customers workshop


Calling all accommodation providers!

We have commissioned Tourism Resources Company (TRC), an independent tourism consultancy, to undertake an accommodation audit within the Aberdeenshire area.


The aim of this project is to provide a source of reliable information which will better inform activities and decisions, and also assist in the development and promotion of the region's tourism offering. The type of data they are gathering includes:


  • Capacity (bedrooms and bed spaces)
  • Accessibility (disabled access)
  • Membership of tourism schemes (VisitScotland Quality Assurance, Green Tourism, Taste Our Best)


As part of this project we would be very grateful if you could take a few minutes to complete the survey which can be accessed at the link below.


The survey should take no longer than 5 minutes to complete and the closing date for completed surveys is Friday 31 March 2023. Thank you in advance for your participation.


If you have any queries about this survey you can contact Deirdre O’Donnell, Insights & Evaluation Manager at


Complete the accommodation audit survey


Scottish Thistle Awards 2023 – Nominations now open!

Nominations for the 2023 Scottish Thistle Awards are now live and members of the public can put forward their recommendations for businesses and individuals working hard to make Scotland such a fantastic place to visit.


Entries for all categories will open on Monday 3 April, with 14 regional categories and 3 national categories. You can view all the details of this year’s categories here.


You can find more information about the 2023 Scottish Thistle Awards and how to nominate a business here. We’ll share more information about how you can enter your business for an award once entries open in April.


New London & Scotland dual destination campaign

Visitaberdeenshire is championing an innovative campaign to attract visitors from the west coast of the USA. Led by VisitScotland and London & Partners, and funded by the UK Government’s GREAT Britain campaign, this collaboration with Expedia and Caledonian Sleeper will encourage US visitors to take a two-centre break in London and Scotland. We’re delighted to see Dunnottar Castle featuring prominently in one of the advertising creatives and within the campaign website


The campaign will run until 30 April.


Is your VisitAberdeenshire listing up to date?

As we head into spring and many are reopening for the season or extending opening hours, we encourage you to check your listing on our website to ensure it is up to date.


All our campaign activity drives traffic to our website, so it's vital that all business listings are up to date and accurate to help visitors plan. Even if your opening hours haven't changed, we recommend that you review your listing regularly to ensure that everything is correct and that the images are current to promote your business to best effect.


If you have already claimed your listing, you can log in and update your listing.


If you have not already 'claimed' your listing, the first step will be to create an account and claim your listing before you can update it. For more details on how to claim and update your listing, view our step-by-step instructions.


If you need any help updating your listing, please email


Discover the impact of our 2022 “Taste of Summer” campaign

Our "Taste of Summer" campaign which ran in summer 2022 built on the successful partnership between VisitAberdeenshire and Mackie's of Scotland. The overriding objective being to drive summer visits to, and spend within, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and to increase awareness and sales of Mackie's of Scotland ice cream.


We carried out a post campaign survey with people who interacted with the campaign to find out what the campaign made people think, feel and do, both immediately on seeing the campaign and longer-term.


You can read the findings from the survey in our factsheet.


Webinar: The perfect employee rewards – Scotland Loves Local Aberdeenshire Gift Card

Across the country, many organisations are choosing to replace or supplement existing staff reward schemes with a local gift card incentive. The Aberdeenshire Loves Local Gift Card is an excellent choice for Aberdeenshire businesses. Even better, through HMRC’s Trivial Benefits Allowance, gifting the Aberdeenshire Loves Local Gift Card to employees can often be tax free.


The Scotland Loves Local team are hosting a webinar on Wednesday 29 March at 4pm to show you how easy it is to choose the Aberdeenshire Loves Local Gift Card for incentives in your workplace. Click here to register for the webinar.


If you would like to find out more about the Aberdeenshire Gift Card, email


Cruise update meeting – rescheduled date

The expanded Port of Aberdeen will welcome a wide range of new cruise vessels to the city in 2023.
More than 25 cruise calls are currently scheduled from April to September, and details can be seen on a new page on the Port of Aberdeen website: Port of Aberdeen Cruise Calls


During the meeting Cruise Aberdeenshire partners will provide an overview of the 2023 cruise calls and the plans to support activity in and around the port and the wider destination.


The event will be held at the Aberdeen Harbour Expansion Project Visitor Centre on Tuesday 4 April, 2.30pm – 4pm.


Register for the cruise update meeting


VisitScotland: Guide to creating a climate action plan

VisitScotland has created a step-by-step process for you to create and manage your own climate action plan.


A climate action plan can help you reduce your emissions, find ways to increase efficiency with a view to reducing costs and meet consumer demand. The guide will take you through:


  • Identifying and measuring your carbon emissions
  • How to adapt to unavoidable climate change
  • Supporting nature-based solutions
  • Communicating with your stakeholders


The guide has been produced by VisitScotland as part of the Scottish Government tourism recovery funded Destination Net Zero programme and created in partnership with Green Tourism and The Edinburgh Climate Change Institute.


View the climate action plan guide


Agritourism businesses – your opportunity to feature on the Go Rural map

Scottish Agritourism is updating the design and reprinting the popular Go Rural map. The reprinted map will be available in all VisitScotland iCentres and each Scottish Agritourism member business will receive copies of the map to share with their visitors and customers.


If you are already a Scottish Agritourism member, you will have been sent an email with a very short survey to complete by 5pm on Friday 24 March.


If you are not yet a Scottish Agritourism member and are thinking about joining, you can join before 5pm on Friday 24 March to feature on the map. Click here to find out about joining Scottish Agritourism.