Melrose Abbey, the most popular paid-for visitor attraction in the Scottish Borders, which attracted more than 52,000 visitors in 2016, is to join the VisitScotland Information Partner (VIP) programme, an exclusive network committed to actively promoting the local area and services on offer.
The partnership between Historic Environment Scotland and the national tourism organisation is part of a new approach to visitor information which will be introduced in Melrose this summer as the region prepares for a busy season with a plethora of events, festivals and attractions.
With the Melrose VisitScotland iCentre set to have its last day of business on Sunday 11 June, following the end of its lease – local businesses, attractions, Coo-vans and digital platforms will become part of a new generation of visitor inspiration providers which will reach more people– wherever they are – with the information they want, in the way they want it, when they want it.
The initiative comes as a direct response to significant changes in visitor behaviour in the last five years, with people now using a variety of channels to access the information they need whether it be online, on their phone or in person.
Information provision is stronger than ever before in Melrose with a diverse range of alternatives within the town and local area including:
Seven VisitScotland Information Partners (VIPs) specifically for Melrose including Melrose Abbey, Abbotsford House, Abbotsford Trust Self Catering, Three Hills Roman Heritage Centre, the Town House Hotel, Dryburgh Abbey Hotel and The Abbey Mill.
Four iCentres located within a 25 mile radius (Jedburgh, Peebles, Hawick and Kelso)
A Scottish Borders Council visitor information digital kiosk within the town centre
Roaming VisitScotland Coo-van at key events including the Borders Book Festival
VisitScotland is looking at the way in which information is provided across the whole of Scotland and is in discussions with a number of stakeholders to discuss the most efficient and effective way to deliver information provision in the area.
The new approach allows the national tourism organisation to market the region by working together with local businesses to attract visitors and deliver an exceptional holiday experience, ensuring that the Scottish Borders is recognised as a top visitor destination.
Recent marketing activity has included an online film which has had more than 121,000 views, direct mail campaigns reaching more than 2 million consumers and activity across our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts which collectively reach more which has been specially created to ensure visitors continue to receive a warm welcome.
Lynn Jack, VisitScotland Head of Information & Quality, said:
“We are committed to working with partners in the public and private sector in the Scottish Borders to enhance the provision of visitor information and inspiration in the region for the future, ensuring every single visitor gets a warm welcome and we connect them with the memorable and unique experiences that the Scottish Borders has in abundance.
“VisitScotland is constantly reviewing how to provide information to make sure that it best meets the needs of visitors. By actively recruiting businesses to the VIP programme, more information will be delivered to more people through more touch points.
“We are confident that information provision in the region will be extended across the many experiences available to visitors in the area and we will work closely with all providers, including via the VIP Programme, to ensure that this is the case.”
Susan Loch, Head of Visitor Operations and Community Engagement at Historic Environment Scotland said:
“We are delighted that Melrose Abbey has become a VisitScotland Information Partner. Our team are excited to not only be able to show visitors what to see and do at this historic attraction, but also where else to explore in the beautiful Scottish Borders. We look forward to working closely with VisitScotland and other partners to deliver inspiration and information to the many visitors we welcome every single year.”
The VIP programme is open to all VisitScotland Quality Assured businesses, as well as community groups, local authority-operated library services and social enterprises. The initiative is designed to give each and every establishment the ability to provide more and better quality information directly to visitors. It will also add value to the services on offer and make it easier than ever before for visitors to connect with local people.
VIP businesses are provided by VisitScotland with promotional material and information resources to make sure visitors receive first-class information about the area and region as well as Scotland as a whole.
The initiative links with VisitScotland’s global Spirit of Scotland campaign, harnessing the local knowledge, warmth and enthusiasm of staff at the attractions, helping visitors make the most of their trip to Scotland.