Falkirk and West Lothian tap into lucrative Screen Tourism market

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A new campaign will use locations used on the big and small screen to showcase Falkirk and West Lothian as a visitor destination with the help of VisitScotland.

Film on Forth, a collaboration between Visit Falkirk and Visit West Lothian, will create a suite of digital itineraries, maps and videos highlighting the full range of filming locations across the area.

The project aims to bring more visitors to Falkirk and West Lothian where they will stay longer and spend more, representing a major benefit to the local economy.

The national tourism organisation is supporting the initiative with a £15,000 VisitScotland Growth Fund award. This award provides support to national, regional and sectoral tourism groups across Scotland to help them deliver partnership marketing campaigns.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, met with partners from VisitScotland, Visit Falkirk and Visit West Lothian on Thursday 6 February as the Growth Fund award and campaign activity was announced.

Pic shows L-R: Tom Kerr (Visit West Lothian board director), Emma Chalmers (founder of Mary’s Meanders Tours), Jenni Steele (VisitScotland Film and Creative Industries manager), Amanda Kilburn (Bo’Ness & Kinneil Railway), Tracey Martin (Economic Development Officer, Falkirk Council).

This took place at Midhope Castle, which doubles as Lallybroch Castle in the popular TV series Outlander, and Lord Hopetoun was also present to meet partners and learn more about the campaign.

Screen tourism is huge in Scotland, with almost one in five visitors saying they were inspired to travel here after seeing the country’s stunning landscapes and heritage on the screen. Both Falkirk and West Lothian have an increasing number of sites that have been used by production companies for major TV series and films including World War Z, Outlaw King, Trainspotting 2 and Outlander.

While attractions such as Linlithgow Palace and Blackness Castle have already seen huge rises in visitor numbers as a result of the ‘Outlander Effect’ the campaign aims to direct visitors from across the UK to more of the locations in the area as well as other nearby visitor experiences.

The area is also home to Scotland’s oldest cinema, the Hippodrome in Bo’ness. The campaign plans to work with local independent cinemas like the Hippodrome to promote the itineraries, maps and videos.

A Screen Tourism event will also take place where local businesses and groups can learn how to promote their on-screen connections and how they can engage with production companies to improve their visibility as potential filming locations.

It is hoped this will create a legacy for the project and ensure Falkirk and West Lothian will continue to reap the benefits brought by Screen Tourism.

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, Leader of Falkirk Council, said: “We are delighted to have received support from the Visit Scotland Growth Fund to allow us to pool resources with Visit West Lothian and a number of partners to provide us with a budget to promote this sector in a positive manner.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said: ““Film and TV influences are a big draw for visitors coming to Scotland, and they can play a key role in ensuring the benefits of tourism are spread across Scotland.

“This guide will help encourage tourists to venture beyond our cities and visit places such as Falkirk and West Lothian, where major productions are filmed.”

 
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