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Putting social tourism on the map

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With one third of adults and children in Scotland missing out on a holiday due to cost, ill-health or caring responsibilities, VisitScotland is hoping its latest campaign will raise levels of profile and support of social tourism in the UK.

As part of the new Spirit of Scotland campaign, launched today (10 Feb) by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and to show the spirit of warmth and generosity of the country, the national tourism organisation has worked with accommodation providers, attractions and transport companies to add a charitable edge to its new global activity.

Donations of short breaks and free passes from businesses including Hilton, Macdonald and Accor Hotels, the Scottish Youth Hostel Association, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and Abellio Scotrail will allow over 100 vulnerable and disadvantaged children and their parents or carers the opportunity to go on holiday in Scotland.

The UK based Family Holiday Association will work with local charities and support organisations to identify families who will benefit the most from these breaks including those who haven’t had a break in several years, are living on a low income and are struggling with some of the toughest challenges life can bring.

VisitScotland is hoping that the initiative will increase interest in and support for social tourism, which currently has a relatively low profile in the UK. In addition to the activity around the Spirit of Scotland launch, the national tourism organisation is working on a social tourism pilot in the West of Scotland in late 2016. The learnings from this will help shape how VisitScotland supports the travel and tourism industry to promote inclusivity.

The activity is part of VisitScotland’s first ever global marketing campaign and social movement – the Spirit of Scotland. People across the world will be asked to share their experience of the spirit of Scotland through #ScotSpirit and in doing so become part of special movement with social, economic and charitable aims.

VisitScotland’s partnership with The Family Holiday Association will mean that not only will people be joining a movement to raise the spirit of Scotland and promote the unique feeling the country has to the world, they will also be part of a real mission to raise the profile and need for social tourism.