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Published on : Friday, October 7, 2016
A welcome scheme aimed at tapping into the multi-million pound ancestral tourism market in Scotland has been officially relaunched by Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop.
The Ancestral Welcome Scheme, which has been revamped and upgraded by VisitScotland in partnership with genealogy experts, was unveiled yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, 5 October) at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, in front of industry representatives gathered to learn about Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.
The scheme, first launched in 2006, is open to frontline tourism businesses, such as accommodation providers, restaurants, pubs and visitor attractions, who wish to help visitors seeking to unearth their Scottish roots. Genealogy professionals and businesses associated with ancestral and genealogy services can also sign up to the scheme.
Ancestral tourism is an important market in Scotland, with an estimated 50 million people worldwide claiming Scottish ancestry including the key long-haul markets of North America, Australia and New Zealand.
Around 150 tourism businesses and professionals have signed up to the scheme already, such as Mary’s Meanders, a Linlithgow-based independent tour guide company whose roster of bespoke escorted day tours around central Scotland include ancestral tourism.
It is thought that 213,000 trips are made per annum to Scotland by visitors who take part in ancestral research amounting to £101 million for the Scottish economy.
Research shows that 68% of North Americans cited ‘genealogy/researching ancestors’ as a motivation for travel to Scotland, with ancestral tourists staying longer and spending significantly more than the average visitor to Scotland.
The Ancestral Welcome Scheme has been developed by VisitScotland in partnership with the Scottish Ancestral Tourism Group and includes a toolkit providing knowledge to businesses of where visitors can seek further help and assistance to trace their family tree.