A special tourism event has been held in Japan as VisitScotland gears up for the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.
The Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 will focus on four over-arching themes: our Natural Environment and Wildlife, Historic Environment and Cultural Heritage, Activities and Adventure and Food and Drink.
The themed year will drive home the message of responsible engagement and participation around and in our waters and coastal environments by the people of Scotland and its visitors.
Coasts and waters have shaped the country’s history: from fishing and textiles to whisky and wave power, they have influenced its culture, stories and way of life.
The Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop outlined what Scotland has to offer to Japanese visitors along with the exciting themed activity on the horizon.
Ms Hyslop welcomed guests along with VisitScotland and Creative Scotland and promoted tourism and cultural links between Japan and Scotland.
In celebration of this, a year-long programme of events and activities will be held across Scotland with VisitScotland encouraging visitors from Japan and beyond to dive in and explore these vital elements of Scotland’s landscape.
During the event, representatives from VisitScotland explained how Japanese visitors can enjoy majestic landscapes, seascapes, castles, whisky, luxury accommodation as well as some of the very best cultural experiences and crafts on offer anywhere in the world.
While Creative Scotland talked about their work in establishing cultural links between our two countries and how their support for festivals, like the renowned Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe ensures Scotland always delivers the best events for our visitors.
The average spend per visit from Japan was 69 per cent more than the global average for all inbound visits to Scotland in 2018 at £1,056.
For all international inbound visitors to Scotland the average spend per trip in 2018 was £624.
Ms Hyslop also highlighted the similarities between Japan and Scotland, and one of the most obvious of which is that we are both island nations and that we both take great pride in our breath-taking coastline and islands, each with its unique heritage and character.
A total of six initial events, designed to whet the appetite for what’s in store, have already been announced for the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 with many more to be revealed later in the year.
This includes The Fife Regatta, an expanded Clydebuilt Festival, and Edinburgh International Film Festival will present Scotland’s Shores, featuring classic film screenings and a special outdoor coastal experience.
RSPB will celebrate DolphinFest 2020 off the coast of Aberdeen, while Scotland’s Boat Show and Kip Marina will make a splash with a brand new special event ‘River of Light’.
The National Theatre of Scotland will deliver, Ferry Tales, an exciting new production, celebrating Scotland’s surrounding waters and the journeys over them made by thousands of residents and tourists.
Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The visit to Japan is a fantastic opportunity to create increased interest in all that Scotland has to offer Japanese tourists from our world-class festivals to stunning landscapes and diverse, vibrant cities.
“Like Scotland, Japan takes great pride in its breath-taking coastline and islands, which have their own unique heritage and character.
“As we approach Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020, there is no better time to promote and celebrate this shared interest and continue to foster the deep ties between our two nations.”
VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead said: “The Japanese visitor market is one we are keen to expand within and know that Scotland has plenty to offer holidaymakers from Japan.
“Therefore, it is important to have Ms Hyslop and teams from VisitScotland and Creative Scotland strengthening our relationships and promoting the Year of Coasts and Waters there.
“Our coasts and waters play an important part in the visitor experience, and so VisitScotland is delighted to introduce this Themed Year to Japan, highlighting Scotland’s diverse scenery, traditions and produce and our shared love for our island nations. We look forward to 2020 when we celebrate the life-blood of our country.”
For more information on the Year of Coasts and Waters visit: www.visitscotland.org/ycw2020