The Big Five Questions: Scottish Tourism Alliance launched new initiative to support tourism businesses

Pictured left to right: Stephen Williamson - Senior Tourism Executive, Scottish Enterprise John McClelland, Chair - Skills Development Scotland Robert Allan, HR Director Apex Hotels and Chair of Tourism Skills Group Fiona Hyslop MSP - Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Marc Crothall - Chief Executive, Scottish Tourism Alliance Riddell Graham - Director of Partnerships, VisitScotland Caroline Warburton, National Strategy Delivery Co-Ordinator – Scottish Tourism Alliance

Pictured left to right:
Stephen Williamson – Senior Tourism Executive, Scottish Enterprise
John McClelland, Chair – Skills Development Scotland
Robert Allan, HR Director Apex Hotels and Chair of Tourism Skills Group
Fiona Hyslop MSP – Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs
Marc Crothall – Chief Executive, Scottish Tourism Alliance
Riddell Graham – Director of Partnerships, VisitScotland
Caroline Warburton, National Strategy Delivery Co-Ordinator – Scottish Tourism Alliance

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND, 2016-Oct-04 — /Travel PR News/ — A new campaign which supports tourism businesses in delivering the sector’s ambition to grow by £1bn by 2020 has launched today in Edinburgh.

‘The Big Five Questions’ invites businesses across Scotland to ask themselves questions relating to their customers, online presence, performance and productivity. Relevant advice, tools and support from the initiative’s partners have been gathered together to help businesses tackle these areas of their business with the overall objective of strengthening the sector.

The initiative, created and hosted by the Scottish Tourism Alliance, has been a collaborative undertaking with the key public agency partners involved in the tourism sector, including VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland, Business Gateway and the Scottish Government.

The Big Five Questions focus on the themes of ‘Your Customer’, Your Digital’, ‘Your People’, ‘Your Costs’ and ‘Your Voice’, and provide quick links to the most appropriate advice around issues such as improving a business’s efficiency, investing in staff training or strengthening an organisation’s online presence.

The five questions are based on the findings from the recent Mid-Term Review of the national tourism strategy, Tourism Scotland 2020. With an industry comprising of thousands of businesses the length and breadth of the country, the campaign aims to translate these findings into achievable actions for businesses and provide quick and easy links to the broad range of advice and support available.

As highlighted in the TS2020 Mid Term Review, the tourism industry has considerable room for growth up to 2020. Although 2016 has been a strong season for Scottish tourism, Scotland remains a relatively high cost international destination and the recent uncertainty over the future of the UK economy, trading conditions and Scotland’s international reputation means that, more than ever, it is important that tourism businesses offer the best service and experiences they can.

Also being launched today is the refreshed Skills Investment Plan for Scotland’s tourism sector which, tying in closely with TS2020 and the Your People theme, sets out the tourism industry’s updated skills priorities and actions, and the Tourism Business Improvement Academy which supports greater efficiencies and sustainable growth across tourism organisations.

Scotland’s tourism strategy has a vision ‘to make Scotland a destination of first choice for a high quality, value for money and memorable customer experience, delivered by skilled and passionate people.’

Since its launch, hundreds of tourism businesses, associations, organisations and individuals have been involved with projects and initiatives to drive the change needed to achieve the TS2020 vision, with full support from all key public agencies and the Scottish Government.

It is hoped the campaign will encourage more tourism businesses to get behind the strategy, help drive growth in their own organisations which will collectively strengthen the sector’s position as the main economic driver for Scotland.

Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs said:

“The contribution of tourism is vital to the continued success of Scotland’s economy and every business – large or small – must play its part. The “Big 5 Questions” is a simple, yet effective, way of making this happen, as well as an excellent example of the value of the public and private sectors working together to drive Scotland’s success.”

Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said:

“We are delighted to launch The Big Five Questions which highlights the considerable amount of support and advice available to tourism businesses across our agency partners. We often hear that people do not know where to look and this campaign aims to bring the most relevant information together in one place – the Scottish Tourism Alliance website. We will be using the questions to shape our communications over the next year and are encouraging every tourism group and organisation to help us promote the initiative to others in the industry and help make it easy for businesses to access the right support for them. As an industry, we continue to face many challenges and unknowns post-Brexit and engaging in The Big Five Questions right now is the most effective way to help businesses prepare for the future so we can collectively strengthen and grow Scotland’s tourism industry for 2020 and beyond.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive VisitScotland said:

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience. It creates jobs and sustains communities in every corner of Scotland all year round and is at the heart of the Scottish economy. The industry’s 2020 strategy aims to generate economic growth for Scotland through tourism, with all partners working in support of this ambition. The Big Five Questions gives businesses throughout the country an excellent focus on how, together, we can grow the sector by £1 billion over the next few years.”

Stephen Williamson, Senior Tourism Executive, Scottish Enterprise said:

“The aim of The Big Five Questions is to prompt businesses to consider the areas where they might need to develop and for them to feel that they can quickly access support that will really make a difference to their business performance. With so many support options out there, it’s important that tourism businesses feel that their particular needs are understood and addressed – the industry continues to face many challenges and Scottish Enterprise would urge the industry to connect with the campaign and stay ambitious with their growth ambition.”

Chris Taylor, Head of Tourism, Highlands and Islands Enterprise said:

“This campaign by the Scottish Tourism Alliance will help many tourism businesses take some simple steps to help win more business. The HIE Tourism webinars for example are a great place to start for businesses who want to know how to use digital technology better. They are completely free and available to everyone.”

Lawrence Durden, Tourism Industry Manager, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) said:

“The Big Five Questions reflect many of the themes at the heart of the new Skills Investment Plan for Scotland’s Tourism Sector.Tourism businesses of all sizes need an increasing array of skills to boost growth and innovation, from enhancing the visitor experience to making use of new technologies.SDS is committed to working with employers across the sector and with industry partners including the STA, to ensure Scotland’s tourism industry can take full advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.”

– ENDS –

Notes to Editors

  • The Five Big Questions campaign is led by the Scottish Tourism Alliance and supported by Scottish Government, VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
  • The campaign calls on the tourism industry to answer five big questions, and take advantage of the programmes of support available in each of the five key areas – Your Customer, Your Digital, Your Costs, Your People and Your Voice.
  • The five questions are:
    Do you want to understand more about your customers?
    Do you want to be smarter online?
    Do you want to find ways to reduce costs and grow your bottom line?
    Do you want to develop your team to grow your business?
    Do you want to help grow tourism in your area?
  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business events in Scotland go to

2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design started on 1 January 2016 and will end on 31 December 2016.It will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
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SOURCE: VisitScotland