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Vodka and gin join Scotch – and then there’s Outlander

August 21, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The skirl of the bagpipes sounded over Sydney Opera House on Thursday evening as VisitScotland and Etihad Airlines gave the industry a taste of what’s new in Scotland for the coming year – and the range is amazing.

Scotland has long been associated with whisky, but Scottish gins and vodkas are taking the world by storm. There are over 130 Scottish gins. Not much time is left to enjoy the Scottish Gin Festival in Edinburgh – it finishes at the end of this month – but there’s plenty happening apart from alcohol.

The Outlander television series is shining a light on all things Scottish. Next week, a group of top Scottish bloggers is travelling hundreds of kilometres around Scotland to visit nearly 30 filming locations on VisitScotland’s Outlander map – in the space of just 34 hours.

Piper plays outside Sydney Opera House

The six Scotlanders – who between them boast a social media audience of more than 100,000 across eight platforms – will set off in pairs at 8am next Saturday, 26 August. By 6pm the following day, they hope to have taken in 28 sites that feature in the time travel drama, the third series of which will be available on Amazon Prime Video on 11 September.

Scotlanders Neil Robertson and Kristy Ashton plan their Outlander challenge at Doune Castle – AKA Castle Leoch. Picture: Fraser Band

When they regroup at Doune Castle – the Historic Environment Scotland property near Stirling which doubles for the fictional Castle Leoch – the group will have clocked up more than 1100 kilometres between them. From Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries & Galloway up to the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore, and from Troon in Ayrshire across to Preston Mill in East Lothian, the VisitScotland Outlander locations map allows people to follow in the footsteps of Jamie and Claire.

Based on the bestselling books by Diana Gabaldon, producer Ronald D.Moore describes the Outlander television series as “a love letter to Scotland”.

VisitScotland’s senior market manager Kirsten Spence said this year was Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, which was working well with Australians keen to trace their Scottish roots. The year built on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland. 2018 will be the Year of Young People, with  activities and events dedicated to youth.

VisitScotland’s senior marketing manager, Kirsten Spence

A top youth venue – also popular with the not-so-young – is Glasgow’s SSE Hydro, a multi-purpose indoor arena located within the Scottish Event Campus. Laura Speirs, Australian PR representative for Glasgow Life, said SSE Hydro is the world’s second-busiest live entertainment arena. The 13,000-capacity building ranks second only to London’s O2 arena in a list compiled by Pollstar, a trade publication for venues and tours. The Hydro actually ranks higher than Madison Square Garden in New York.

Australian PR representative for Glasgow Life, Laura Speirs, with VisitBritain commercial manager, Mark Haynes

Glasgow is just 45 minutes by rail or road from Edinburgh, so flying into Edinburgh with Etihad and heading to Glasgow is swift and economical.

Glasgow has just launched an innovative 90-second promotional film showcasing the city to potential visitors. It was been created by editing nearly 500 different still images together, including Instagram contributions from residents, previous visitors and city partners. Produced by local creative agency, Frame, the film is set to the song “How We Met (Cherry Pie)” by Glasgow girl band, Teen Canteen. It takes audiences on a journey through some of the city’s most iconic cultural attractions, music venues, restaurants, bars and places.

Among them are Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the University of Glasgow, the River Clyde, People’s Palace, the SSE Hydro, the Barrowlands, King Tut’s, House for an Art Lover, Pollok House, the McLennan Arch, the Glasgow Subway, Ashton Lane, George Square, Buchanan Street and The Big G in Glasgow Green.

You can watch it here:

Etihad Airways operates daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Edinburgh, with easy connections from Australia. Etihad regional marketing manager Asia Pacific, Adam Vance, said Edinburgh had grown to become one of the top 10 destinations for passengers from Australia. He said travellers wanting more space were embracing the airline’s new “neighbour-free seat” concept, which let them bid for one, two or three neighbouring seats, which will stay vacant for the duration of their journey.

Etihad regional marketing manager Asia Pacific, Adam Vance

Edinburgh is Britain’s largest tourist market outside London, with more than a million international arrivals each year. Edinburgh is the second most popular British city after London for Australians, 8% of whom have Scottish ancestry.

Written by Peter Needham

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