VisitScotland Connect to showcase Scottish tourism once again
A major event aimed at bringing more visitors to Scotland by connecting tourism businesses with international tour operators and travel advisors is set to return to Aberdeen in 2024.
VisitScotland Connect is the national tourism organisation’s flagship travel trade event.
It returns to P&J Live in Aberdeen, on 17-18 April 2024 and eligible businesses are being invited to register their attendance from today (Thursday 31 August)
The event is open to Scottish tourism businesses that are offering a tourism product that can be contracted at trade rates and based in Scotland or have a Scottish office. They will also need to have staff experienced in working with UK and international trade buyers, and have a listing on VisitScotland’s travel trade website.
Held for the first time in April 2023, the event aims to grow Scotland's share of global travel in a sustainable way. Tour operators and travel buyers meet with local tourism businesses and attractions, in person, under one roof.
More than half of international visitors plan and book their travel through the travel trade. International visitors stay longer and spend more in local communities in every part of Scotland.
International visitors account for approximately a fifth (20%) of total inbound visits but account for 43% of total spending.
2023 was the first time the national tourism organisation has run a workshop style event, offering a more targeted opportunity to conduct 1-2-1 meetings between trade-ready Scottish suppliers and international buyers.
Over 250 international buyers representing 23 countries travelled to the Granite city. Over two days, they held over 6,000 meetings with trade-ready Scottish businesses.
The event has been praised for its importance in establishing connections, supporting businesses in their ambitions to internationalise, and the subsequent business potential it brings to Scotland’s valuable tourism industry.
Feedback from attendees revealed 91% of Scottish businesses said they anticipated generating sales from attending VisitScotland Connect.
Meanwhile, almost two-thirds of tour operators and travel agents stated the event helped introduce more possible destinations in Scotland to their programmes and products.
As well as direct meetings, more than 100 tour operators and travel agents were also given the opportunity to enjoy first-hand experience of Scotland’s tourism offering through a carefully curated programme of familiarisation trips, covering 20 regions during the week of the event.
There has been a real appetite again for global travel, with Scotland benefiting. The International Passenger (IPS) tourism statistics revealed there were new record periods in both July to September 2022 and October to December 2022 for spend by international visitors, resulting in a new January – December record of £3.2 billion, up by almost quarter on 2019 (24%).
VisitScotland’s Director of Marketing Vicki Miller said: “After the success of VisitScotland Connect 2023 and positive feedback from both buyers and suppliers, we are thrilled to be returning to P&J Live, the most sustainable venue of its type in the UK for 2024.
“Since the the pandemic, more consumers have been using tour operators and travel agents to plan and book, due to the extra reassurance and guidance they offer.
“VisitScotland Connect offers a targeted opportunity to connect Scottish businesses with the travel trade, helping to generate sales and new business opportunities.”
Louise Stewart, Head of Entertainment, Exhibitions & Marketing at P&J Live, said: “After a competitive bidding process, and having hosted this event in 2023, we are delighted to have been selected as the chosen venue for VisitScotland Connect 2024 and 2025, showcasing the very best tourism businesses that call Scotland their home. We work tirelessly, alongside VisitAberdeenshire and VisitScotland, to continue to attract national and international visitors to the city, and to host this event is a fantastic string to our bow. We very much look forward to welcoming travel trade from all over the world to the northeast.”
Jacqui Curley, Operations Director at Best of Scotland Holidays, said: “The VisitScotland Connect event in Aberdeen was a great opportunity for our company.
“We signed up in order to make new connections with overseas buyers and catch up with some of our existing clients face-to-face after such a long time doing everything online. The workshop format worked well and the quality of appointments was great.
“We are looking forward to the event in 2024 and would encourage all tourism related businesses in Scotland to consider getting involved.”
Lee Medd, Group Marketing Manager, Annandale Distillery said:
“The best thing about Connect was that we had direct access to the key players in the industry, people who could make deals happen and find new opportunities. We had hundreds of meaningful conversations with potential customers and partners over the two days, people who were eager to work with us. It was one of the most rewarding and successful events we have ever participated in, and we have seen a significant increase in our coach and tour bookings as a result of this event. I would highly recommend Connect to anyone who wants to grow their business and network with the right people.”
For more information about eligibility to work with the travel trade go to https://www.visitscotland.org/supporting-your-business/advice/travel-distribution/travel-trade-benefits
To register, go to www.visitscotland.com/connect
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I buy a VIP View Bar Upgrade?
You can purchase a VIP View Bar Upgrade to selected events here. It includes early access, fast-track entry, complimentary drink on arrival and access to the View Bar before, during and post-show.
- How can I purchase tickets for a concert at P&J Live?
P&J Live do not sell tickets directly.
- How do I register for access to venue presale?
For certain events, venue presale tickets might be on offer. This means you'll be access tickets before they go on general sale.
To gain access to our exclusive venue presale, sign up to our newsletterhere and we will send you an email with the presale link for tickets go on general sale!
- How can I book a table at 195 Bar & Grill?
Our 195 Bar & Grill offers a unique dining experience before selected shows at P&J Live. You can check availability and book a table here.
- Will I be able to purchase food at P&J Live?
There is a wide range of food and beverage options available to purchase for concerts and events, including catering outlets offering a variety of hot food options.
Please note - it is against venue policy to allow patrons to bring in their own food and drink to the venue. At P&J live it is our aim to be completely cashless, all of our bars, kiosks and restaurants accept card payments, this is more efficient, safe and ensures a speedy transaction. There are therefore no cash machines on the TECA site.
- Is there parking available at P&J Live?
Yes, there is parking available on-site at P&J Live.
There are various ways to pay for your parking at P&J Live
On site payment machines: We accept both cash and card payments on site, pay on exit is required by entering your vehicle registration at any one of our machines located in the car parks. Please note payment machines only take coins and not notes.
APCOA Connect App: Up to 24 hour after you have left the venue, you can pay for your parking on the APCOA Connect App. Once you have downloaded the app, use location code 6680 for the Sub-T Car Park (underground) and location code 2356 for the Surface Car Park.
You can also pay for parking via the APCOA website here, click which car park you parked in and then you will be able to pay for parking.
- Can I pay by cash within P&J Live?
At P&J Live it is our aim to be completely cashless, all of our bars, kiosks and restaurants accept card and contactless payments. This is more efficient, safe and ensures a speedy transaction.
There are no cash machines on the TECA sites.
- What bus can take me to P&J Live?
Regular buses will be coming in and out of the complex daily for public use. Details on bus routes and operators are still in discussion and any updates will be posted on the getting here page of the website.
Currently, the Stagecoach Bluebird Jet Service 727 runs regularly from Aberdeen City Centre to Aberdeen Airport, stopping in the TECA site.