Love local this Christmas, says VisitScotland

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VisitScotland is calling on Scots to ‘love local’ this Christmas and support tourism in its time of need.

Supporting local businesses offers the best chance of protecting them for the future, it said.

As part of a new campaign, it will use its popular website and social media channels to showcase the range of gifts, products and experiences people can enjoy on their doorstep.

Worth more than £11.5 billion to the Scottish economy, and supporting one in 12 jobs, the Scottish tourism industry has been devastated by the pandemic.

However, throughout the year, stories of innovation and kindness emerged, said VisitScotland.

Examples include: Whitetail Gin Distillery on Mull, Loch Lomond Group and Islay’s Spirited Soap worked with Bruichladdich distillery to produce hand sanitiser.

The Harbour Inn on Islay delivered food and supported vulnerable people

Glenegedale House on Islay contacted other local businesses to help and assist with mental health tips and advice.

The Puffer Bar and Restaurant on Easdale; ‘TES Coll’ on the Isle of Coll;  The Tree Shop in Cairndow and Yellow Hare Café on Tiree all adapted to takeaway or delivery services.

Isle20.com also launched as a virtual marketplace for hundreds of independent retailers on the Scottish islands.

Crerar Hotels which operates The Loch Fyne Hotel and Spa, the Oban Bay Hotel and The Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa, also welcomed more than 380 NHS key workers and their families to its venues in August to say thank you for all their efforts.

As well as encouraging visitors to put Scottish tourism at the top of their Christmas 2020 wish-lists, the national tourism organisation has also created a dedicated advice page on its website visitscotland.org where businesses can learn more about the campaign and how to get involved, as well as accessing advice on promoting themselves to a local audience during the pandemic.

David Adams McGilp, regional director for VisitScotland, said many tourism businesses in Argyll and the Isles selflessly put the public’s needs first by creating takeaway services and adapting their offerings.

He said: ‘Now many of these tourism businesses are worried for their future and it is our time to support them. Whether it’s buying gift vouchers, shopping online or on our high streets, dining out or booking a break on your doorstep, by loving local you are supporting communities during tough times and helping protect the places and businesses you love to visit and rebuilding our valuable visitor economy.’

The Scotland Loves Local campaign has been spearheaded by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP). Phil Prentice, STP’s chief officer, said it was important to think local first.

‘Whether you do it in person or online – to buy a physical item or a gift card – please support the shops, eateries, hotels and all of those close to you. By doing so, you are investing in your community.’

To find out more about #ScotlandLovesLocal visit: www.VisitScotland.com/LoveLocal

CAPTION: NO-T51 Business – Visit Scotland shop local campaign