£52,000 marketing boost for Outer Hebrides

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A £52,000 campaign to inspire people to visit the Outer Hebrides this spring and summer is being launched this week by VisitScotland, in partnership with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

The Outer Hebrides has long been a popular destination for visitors and the chain of islands boast a number of attractions, including the Calanais Standing Stones, the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village and Carloway Broch on the Isle of Lewis; Luskentyre Beach and the Harris Tweed Company on the Isle of Harris; and the RSPB Balranald Nature Reserve on North Uist.

Going on sea trips and expeditions are also a ’must’ for people visiting the islands and a number of events, including the Hebridean Celtic Festival, Sail Stornoway Maritime Festival and Harris Arts Festival, attract thousands of visitors every summer.

The campaign, which launches on Tuesday, February 3rd and complements VisitScotland’s Brilliant Moments campaign, will encourage visits during the spring and summer of 2015.

The new campaign will include press and radio advertising, e-zines and direct mail to consumers, targeting around 33,000 people who have expressed an interest in visiting the Outer Hebrides.

The direct mail brochure features stunning images of the islands, including the medieval Kisimul Castle in Castlebay, on the Isle of Barra, and East Beach, on the Isle of Vatersay. It will also involve digital activity, including Facebook posts, e-mails and online banners.

Tourism Minister, Fergus Ewing said: “The Outer Hebrides are beautiful islands and a popular destination for many tourists.

“They have a rich heritage and are full of culture with something for everyone to see and visit. Tourism is vital for helping to support and sustain some of our most fragile communities and this new campaign is a chance to spotlight, celebrate and promote Scotland’s natural larder and quality produce to Scots and visitors alike during the 2015 Year of Food and Drink.

“Part of the charm of the Outer Hebrides is the travel to and from the islands, by sea or air, landing on the beach at Barra or sailing into the historic port of Stornoway which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.

“The Scottish Government is investing around £60 million in a new vessel, the MV Loch Seaforth, and accompanying harbour works at Stornoway and Ullapool.

“I will be taking my family to holiday in the Western Isles again this summer. So I am putting my money where my mouth is. We found it last summer as close to paradise as it is possible to get on this earth!”

Alan Mackenzie, VisitScotland Islands Manager, said: “We have worked in partnership with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to deliver this marketing campaign which shows exactly why the Outer Hebrides is such a must-visit destination for visitors from around the globe every year.

“This is Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, so our dedicated campaign is reaching the strongest target markets for encouraging more people to come the Outer Hebrides through the spring and summer, when they can enjoy the huge variety of fresh, locally-produced food and drink on offer throughout the islands.”

Cllr Alasdair Macleod, Chair of Sustainable Development Committee at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: “I welcome the launch of this campaign and I believe it will have significant economic benefits for our islands. The Outer Hebrides offer the visitor stunning scenery, rich archaeological and cultural treasures and a magical Hebridean ambience. Fantastic natural produce from land and sea, including the internationally recognised Stornoway black pudding, are among the many other ingredients that make the Outer Hebrides a must-see destination, particularly as this is Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink.”

Pictured is Arnol Black House, one of the more popular visitor attractions in the Islands.