Visit Scotland is under-performing

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By Chad MacGregor

Scotland has always been a must-see destination for millions of Americans and Canadians looking to explore their family roots.  The United States and Canada make up the largest number of international visitors to Scotland each year contributing more than £806 million annually to the Scottish economy.  However, I have been extremely disappointed with the Visit Scotland campaign in the United States and Canada in recent years.

By Chad MacGregor

Scotland has always been a must-see destination for millions of Americans and Canadians looking to explore their family roots.  The United States and Canada make up the largest number of international visitors to Scotland each year contributing more than £806 million annually to the Scottish economy.  However, I have been extremely disappointed with the Visit Scotland campaign in the United States and Canada in recent years.

Last week, the United States celebrated St. Patrick’s Day 2012 throughout the country with some form of event being held in almost every State.  Tourism Ireland worked in partnership with several US Senators in order to promote Ireland on the big stage in an attempt to attract thousands of Americans to visit Ireland in 2012.  Visit Ireland were successful in turning famous landmark buildings all around the world green including the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Empire State Building, the White House Fountain, Chicago River and the Sydney Opera House. In my opinion, this was an excellent move by Tourism Ireland and I have no doubt in regard to this campaign being an overwhelming success.

Now, there are an estimated 30 million Americans of Scottish descent and roughly 40 million Americans of Irish descent.  There is not a huge difference in terms of population.  Scotland has every right to promote herself in the United States to the same extent as Ireland has over the years.  However, this can only be achieved if Visit Scotland start to use the resources currently at their disposal i.e. more than 19 US Senators and various other political figures of Scottish descent (Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney and John McCain) who could ensure that Scotland is celebrated during Scotland Week 2012 providing they are invited to get involved. Involving such important and iconic political figures would ensure that Scotland would be promoted on a large scale.

Personally, I would like to the see famous iconic buildings such as the Empire State Building in New York and the CN Tower in Canada light blue in respect of Scotland Week or St. Andrew’s Day.  This campaign is more than realistic, but we need to bring this to the attention of Visit Scotland and their under-performing team if it is to work.

www.scottish-american.net will be starting a campaign this week to turn famous landmarks in countries with a large Scottish presence blue in respect of the Scots who have contributed so much to countries including the United States, where 25 US Presidents are of Scottish heritage, Canada where Scots are the second largest heritage group and produced the first Canadian Prime Minister, and smaller nations like Australia and New Zealand where Scots have been the backbone to their success.

I would like to see every individual with a Scottish connection celebrating Scotland Week in style regardless of where you currently reside.  Every individual should make the effort to write to their local politicians in an attempt to organise a parade and celebrate Scotland’s contributions to the world.

Chad MacGregor Founder – www.scottish-american.net