Year in review: 2016

Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire has enjoyed a successful tourism season in 2016. Regional Director, Jo Robinson, highlighted four fantastic features of the year.

Increased leisure visitors



With fewer business visitors associated with the oil and gas sector meaning accommodation availability and pricing have never been more attractive, coupled with new flight routes from North America and Europe, Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire has become even more appealing to leisure visitors.


Jo’s highlights include:
● Our Travel Trade and Marketing teams working hard to promote the region to European and US markets 
● The region’s values of innovation, exploration and collaboration continuing to ring true for tourism

● The launch of year-round Aberdeen–Reykjavik flights, opening up connections to Icelandair’s 16 gateways in the US.


Investment and initiatives



A number of new developments have been launched in 2016, meaning new businesses, new access routes and dozens of new reasons to visit. These commitments to the future success of the region will put Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire firmly on the map as a must-visit tourism destination.


Jo’s highlights include:
● A phenomenal amount of investment in the Granite City, including the harbour expansion at Nigg, Aberdeen Art Gallery redevelopment, the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC), Aberdeen International Airport expansion and the Marischal Square development
● The Aberdeen Peripheral Route starting to take shape
● The new Destination Marketing Organisation – the second-highest funded in Scotland 
● Recent news of the inaugural Great Aberdeen Run.

Capitalise on this
With so many more reasons to visit Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire, and potential visitors sourcing much of their information and inspiration on the internet, make sure your business is visible and bookable online. A free web listing on is a fantastic platform for this. Find out how to claim and maximise your listing.


Abundant events


Events are a vitally important part of the local visitor economy with the ripple effect of event tourism felt in shops, hotels, restaurants and a wide variety of other businesses across the region. There were some fantastic events in 2016.

Jo’s highlights include:
● Superb performances and a real buzz at the Turriff Show
● The very impressive Quliter Cheviot Etape Royale
● Another hugely successful Portsoy Boat Festival.


Capitalise on this
Keep us informed of your events in 2017, and upload them to for free for fantastic exposure. Promote local events on your own website and social media.

Business development



One of VisitScotland’s most important roles is to support tourism businesses and help them to be as successful and sustainable as they can be. We’re always delighted to support new attractions and accommodation provision, and to assist businesses in driving up the quality of their offering and visitor experience.


Jo’s highlights this year include:
● The opening, and 4-star grading, of the Peterhead Prison Museum in June. It has seen over 45,000 visitors already! 
● The development of The Sail Loft Bunkhouse in Portsoy
● Almost 50 Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire businesses signing up to the VisitScotland Information Partner (VIP) Programme

● Some brilliant examples of businesses using VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance scheme (QA) to develop their businesses and the visitor experience, including: Callater Lodge, Raemoir House Hotel and Potarch Lodge – all in Royal Deeside.


Capitalise on this
Find out more about the many ways VisitScotland can support your business. Go to, or contact your Industry Relationship Manager, Den McFarlane.

Looking forward
This year also looks set to be a great year, with some fantastic projects on the horizon. With our world-renowned history and knowledgeable and passionate tourism industry, Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire is poised to take great advantage of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

Now is the time to harness our #ScotSpirit and make our most successful yet. Jo and colleagues look forward to helping deliver this for the region. Here’s to 2017!

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