A record-breaking two million attendances have been recorded at 1,049 Homecoming events across Scotland in 2014, VisitScotland has revealed.
The figure, which has been compiled from independent outcome reports, includes the Harris Tweed Hebrides Tattoo, held on Lews Castle Green in Stornoway, which attracted 5,100 people.
The diverse range of sell-out events and exceptional audience figures across the country, combined with extensive global marketing campaigns by the national tourism organisation has ensured that the spotlight has truly shone on Scotland during 2014.
The success of Homecoming is testament to one of the biggest partnership campaigns ever, with event organisers, local and national government, local communities, schools, and businesses engaging with the special year across Scotland and beyond.
As the curtain closes on the year Scotland welcomed the world, early positive indicators from the year include:
1,049 Homecoming events throughout Scotland; Events in every Local Authority area in Scotland; significant impact on tourism; Funding for 137 events; 43% of funded events were brand new for 2014; awareness of the Year of Homecoming reached 83% of households; over 93% of tourism businesses aware of Homecoming; almost half a million people viewed the dedicated Year of Homecoming web page; Scottish produce enhanced at a number of events; 36% increase in VisitScotland ancestral database during the course of the year; over 6500 people joined the celebration of the Multi-Cultural Homecoming; Homecoming promoted to over 500 international and 230 UK based tourism buyers at VisitScotland Expo 2014; 144 International tour operators used the Year of Homecoming in their own promotions
Alan Mackenzie, VisitScotland Islands Manager, said: “There really was no place like home for the people of the Outer Hebrides during 2014. We welcomed the world and we had lots of fun doing it! We opened our arms and laughed and cheered with our guests. We gave them directions, provided sunscreen and sometimes the odd umbrella. We didn’t just show them a good time – we joined in!
“Scotland enjoyed a breathtaking programme of more than 1,000 events in this incredible Homecoming year, touching every single corner of the country. I am unaware of any other country in the world our size which has delivered events on such a scale and with such prowess.
“The Scottish people have taken Scottish tourism to the next level in 2014, and as we look forward to the Year of Food and Drink in 2015, we must build on all we have achieved and ensure that people keep visiting our beautiful home – Scotland – for years to come.”
Maryann MacIver, Business Manager at Hebridean Hopscotch Holidays, said: “Our bookings are up 26% on last year and using the Homecoming branding and associating our service with Homecoming Scotland 2014 has offered Hebridean Hopscotch additional marketing exposure.
“Our bookings this year are already more than any previous year, so we believe that the increased awareness through the Homecoming campaign has been one reason for the increase.”