Nov 282016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

acsta-logo-adaptStalwart of the north east tourism industry Roger Goodyear was honoured on Friday (November 25) by his peers at the 2016 Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA).

Mr Goodyear joined 15 other winners, who lifted their trophies at the ceremony held at Ardoe House Hotel and Spa.

Mr Goodyear, who last year was made an MBE for his services to tourism in Banffshire, received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the gathering which celebrated Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s finest tourism achievements.

Closely linked with the tourism industry for several years, Mr Goodyear – who is Vice-Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire – was named Regional Ambassador of the Year by ACSTA in its inaugural year in 2013. His work as chairman of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival in Portsoy and involvement in local tourism initiatives has led him to become a well-liked and much-respected member of the north east tourism industry.

Amongst the other winners were Deeside Activity Park, which held onto its title of Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience for the second year running, Glen Tanar Estate’s Claire Bruce who was named Regional Ambassador, and Gemma Cruickshank of VisitAberdeenshire who was crowned Regional Rising Star. Drum Castle also scooped two awards – the Innovation in Tourism award, and the Working Together for Tourism award in association with Aberdeen Art Gallery.

ACSTA chairman Peter Sangster says,

“2016 has been a fantastic year for tourism in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and it has been brilliant to be able to celebrate such a diverse range of providers – from global brands to family-run outfits, there is a place for all in the north east tourism industry. I am proud that the entire spectrum of tourism is represented in this year’s winners.

“Every year it becomes more difficult to choose the winners in each category. So many tourism professionals in the region are finding new and innovative ways in which to provide world-class service to their customers – it’s very inspiring. It really is an exciting time to be part of the tourism industry in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.”

The winners will now go on to represent Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire at the national Scottish Thistle Awards in 2017, against regional winners from across Scotland.

Jo Robinson, regional director at VisitScotland, adds,

“A huge congratulations to all of the winners at the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards. I wish them the best of luck as they move forward to represent the region in the Scottish Thistle Awards National Final next year.

“Tourism is the driving force for providing the jobs of today and tomorrow and these awards recognise the tireless effort that goes into creating a memorable experience for visitors to the region.”

The winners of the 2016 Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards are:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Roger Goodyear
  • Most Hospitable Hotel sponsored by Fishers Services Ltd – Holiday Inn Aberdeen West
  • Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House sponsored by Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels Association – Callater Lodge
  • Best Accommodation Provider sponsored by Northlink Ferries – Mill of Nethermill Holidays
  • Friendliest Pub/Bar sponsored by Brewdog – The Grill
  • Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience sponsored by Aberdeenshire Council – Deeside Activity Park
  • Best Visitor Attraction sponsored by The Chester Hotel – Royal Lochnagar Distillery
  • Working Together for Tourism sponsored by The Marcliffe Hotel & Spa – Aberdeen Art Gallery and NTS at Drum Castle
  • Innovation in Tourism sponsored by Marriott Hotels – NTS Drum Castle, Gardens and Estate
  • Tourism and Hospitality Hero sponsored by VisitAberdeenshire – Jean Ryrie, Jurys Inn
  • Regional Rising Star sponsored by Ardoe House Hotel and Spa – Gemma Cruickshank, VisitAberdeenshire
  • Regional Ambassador sponsored by Aberdeen International Airport – Claire Bruce, Glen Tanar Estate
  • Best Cultural Event or Festival sponsored by Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre – Celebrate Aberdeen
  • Best Sporting Event sponsored by Active Aberdeen Partnership – Braemar Gathering
  • Best Informal Eating Experience sponsored by Jury’s Inn – No. 10 Bar & Restaurant
  • Best Restaurant Experience sponsored by RBS Leisure – Eat on the Green

For further information on the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, please visit www.acsta.co.uk  

Follow the awards on Twitter @ACSTourismAward or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/acstourismawards

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Nov 282016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

jenni_head-and-shoulders-2A programme designed to encourage professionals and academics to bring high profile conferences and exhibitions to the north east of Scotland will be expanded at an event held on November 30.

The reach of the Aberdeen Ambassador Network (AAN) will be widened at a reception held in the Malmaison Hotel to build on the work undertaken by ambassadors in the region’s business tourism industry.

Industry leaders and academics currently acting as ambassadors promote Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to professional organisations around the world looking for venues and facilities in which to hold conferences and events.

These ambassadors are all highly respected in their fields, and have the potential to influence the organisers of international conferences and events to bring them to the north east. But lead AAN partner VisitAberdeenshire believes there is potential to expand the programme further.

Jenni Fraser (pictured), business development manager at VisitAberdeenshire, says,

“When people think of business tourism in the north east, they often think only of the energy industry – but our ambassadors work across a wide spectrum of fields, and bring an incredible variety of events to the region.

“The world-leading research carried out in the city’s higher education facilities, agencies and institutes makes our area unique in terms of excellence in a wide variety of disciplines. Organisers are attracted to a region which is a centre of excellence in their field where their delegates will also be able to network with our local professionals and academics. Our ambassadors do a brilliant job encouraging and nurturing relationships with key figures to bring these events to the north east.

“By expanding the Aberdeen Ambassador Network, we will  increase the number of ambassadors promoting the region and to bring even more high-profile conferences and events to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. This in turn will have a knock-on benefit not just for conference venues, but also for accommodation providers, restaurateurs and tourist attractions as visitors to the area discover all it has to offer.”

The Aberdeen Ambassador Network will focus on attracting new ambassadors over the coming months, encouraging and supporting them in bringing high-profile business and academic events to the region. Through the AAN, partner organisations will support ambassadors by providing a range of services to help at every stage of the process – from BID support and an accommodation booking portal, to pre-event marketing support and visitor information.

One ambassador who has experienced the benefits of the AAN is Professor John Watson, who for the last 10 years has used his work at the University of Aberdeen to bring numerous conferences and events to the region. Earlier this year he received a special recognition award for his work as an ambassador, having attracted major events including the European Optical Society 2012, 3DTV 2013, EurOCEAN 2007, and IEEE Oceans 2007 and 2017 conferences.

Professor Watson says,

“Organising major international conferences requires support and experience, and the Aberdeen Ambassador Network is incredibly forthcoming with both. They have always been very encouraging, and willing to help when bringing any event to the area.

“It is encouraging to hear that the AAN is actively looking for new ambassadors, as Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have so much to offer and we are currently just scratching the surface. By regularly communicating with colleagues and partners around the world, we can continue to bring international conferences and events to the region.”

The Aberdeen Ambassador Network is a partnership between VisitAberdeenshire, Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University and the James Hutton Institute. For more information, visit www.visitabdn.com/AAN

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Nov 222016
 

martinford-kintore-crossing-tallWith thanks to Martin Ford.

Aberdeenshire’sDemocratic Independent and Green Group of councillors (DIGG) is arguing the consultation on alternative service delivery models for sport and cultural services agreed at their council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee should form part of the expected wider consultation on budget options due to start later this year.

Aberdeenshire Council has agreed to follow a revised budget setting process for its 2017/18 budget in line with the decision taken at the Council’s budget meeting last February and in accordance with the provisions of the confidence and supply agreement between the DIGG and the Council’s coalition administration.

Draft budget proposals are to be published in November giving time for public consultation and to allow discussion on proposals between the various political groups on the Council ahead of formal budget decision making in February.

Cllr Martin Ford (pictured) said:

“I’m really not keen on the charitable trust proposal for future delivery of sport and cultural services. If it was not for the potential financial benefits – possibly betterment in excess of £1 million per annum – I don’t think the option would be under consideration. As it is, given the financial pressures on the Council and anticipated need for future savings, using a Council-owned charitable trust to deliver sport and cultural services has to be given serious consideration.”

Aberdeenshire Council is expected to have to make significant savings in its revenue budget for 2017/18 and in subsequent years. At this stage, before the Scottish Government grant settlement is known, there is considerable uncertainty about the amount the Council will have to save to balance its budget for next year.

However, based on reasonable assumptions, additional spending cuts or other savingstotalling over £10 million are expected to be required, over and above thesavings already identified in the draft 2017/18 revenue budget published last February.

Cllr Martin Ford said:

“In setting its revenue budget for 2017/18, Aberdeenshire Council is going to have to take a range of decisions driven by the need to save money. Moving to a Council-owned charitable trust to deliver sport and cultural services is one option that could be adopted.

“Deciding what to do to balance the revenue budget means comparing all the potential savings options and trying to identify the least damaging and disruptive way of achieving the spending reductions required. Public consultation on those savings options that would affect the Council’s public services should also allow simultaneous consideration of the different proposals, so their relative acceptability can be gauged.

“Including alternative models for the delivery of sport and cultural services in the Council’s budget consultation process is the logical way to proceed,”

Cllr Paul Johnston said:

“As part of consideration of alternative delivery models for sport and cultural services, I would want the Council to look at options for local control, not just a single Aberdeenshire-wide charitable trust.

“As a group, the DIGG aim to have a range of draft budget proposals ready for the November full council meeting, and will welcome the opportunity to get feedback and comment on these before the Council sets its revenue budget for 2017/18 next February.”

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Nov 172016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

volunteers-end-of-2016-season

Volunteers from Braemar Castle celebrate the end of their successful 2016 season, during which they attracted over 12,000 visitors.

A Deeside visitor attraction run entirely by volunteers hopes to get its 10th anniversary celebrations off to a flying start by picking up one of the region’s top tourism awards. Braemar Castle is in the running for the visitor attraction of the year accolade at the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA), which will be announced next week.
It would top off an incredible run of successes for the venue, which is operated as a not-for-profit charity by the community for the community.

Locals were granted a 50-year lease on the property in 2007 and have almost tripled the number of visitors since its first season.

This season 12,045 visitors walked through the doors of Braemar Castle – compared to just over 4,000 in the opening season – and it hopes to hit a target of welcoming 20,000 people to the historic property by 2020.

ACSTA judges shortlisted Braemar Castle for the award after learning how the community had transformed the property, which had closed in 2004, into a focal point to provide entertainment and education to tourists, and bring business into the village.

The group responsible for running the castle has been able to appoint a full-time manager – while still undertaking the lion’s share of work – and have also raised over £440,000 to carry out repairs to the roof and chimneys.

Doreen Wood, vice chairman of Braemar Community Ltd, says everyone is keeping their fingers crossed for the big awards night taking place at Ardoe House Hotel in Aberdeen on Friday, November 25.

The castle will battle it out in the best visitor attraction category with Royal Lochnagar Distillery and the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses in Fraserburgh. The winner will go on to represent the region in that category at Scotland’s national tourism awards – The Scottish Thistle Awards – which are announced in the spring.

Doreen adds,

“We want to give our visitors the very best experience of Highland Scotland in an authentic setting.  And we want the Castle to act as a magnet to bring visitors to this area.  

“The castle is operated by the community for the community and its success is down to the hard work and commitment of our local volunteers.  With our 10th anniversary on the horizon, it’s a real accolade to be recognised and shortlisted for this award.”

Visitors who arrive at the castle can have a personal guided tour with a local volunteer, and an audio tour in both English and German is also available. They find the rooms presented as though the occupants have just stepped out – they can handle the artefacts and sit on chairs as though they were guests.

Volunteers work in partnership with local tourism businesses and events to cross-promote the area, and also stage exhibitions at the castle which change on an annual basis. They held re-enactments and events to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the 1715 Jacobite uprising, and even found time to revive a local hill race.

In addition, the castle has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence by interactive travel forum Trip Advisor, and has been rated the top thing to do in Braemar by the site’s many users.

“Over the past eight years we have refined our brand and we are confident in our distinctive product,” says Doreen.

“We aim to support and complement the current and future village offerings to establish Braemar as a destination.”

ACSTA aims to celebrate the very best of tourism businesses and individuals who help make stays in the region a memorable experience for guests. Awards will be presented in 15 different categories from most hospitable hotel to friendliest pub and from regional tourism ambassador to rising star.

Further information about the awards is available at www.acsta.co.uk

Braemar Castle photos – Credit: Angus McNicol.

Nov 142016
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

mixologist-nick-gordonA young North-east bar manager has been announced as a winner in the Scottish Licensed Trade News (SLTN) Awards 2016.

Nick Gordon, Orchid’s general manager, was awarded Mixologist of the Year at the prestigious ceremony, which took place at Glasgow’s Hilton Hotel last week.  

The 24-year-old was selected as the judges winner out of a number of entries from budding mixologist’s around the country.

With a total of 22 awards up for grabs, the sought-after awards ceremony highlighted the rich diversity and unparalleled expertise Scotland’s world famous hospitality sector is known for.

Orchid was also shortlisted for Cocktail Bar of the Year and Late Night Venue of the Year, both of which it was highly commended for.

Nick Gordon, said:

“I’m ecstatic to be named as SLTN’s Mixologist of the Year, it really is a huge personal achievement for me. I’m also very proud that Orchid was highly commended for two other awards, as the whole team has worked very hard to position Orchid as the forward-thinking cocktail bar it is today.

“For me, it’s about placing Aberdeen on the map as boasting some of the country’s best bar and cocktail venues, which I think was highlighted on the night, being up against the likes of 99 Bar & Kitchen and The Tippling House. It was a brilliant evening that housed the country’s finest bars and bartenders all under one roof.”

Orchid has been upping its game this year, with a couple of its bartenders being recognised in prestigious awards such as Monkey Shoulder’s Ultimate Bartender Championships, the Buffalo Trace Mystery Migration Cocktail Competition and Glenfiddich’s Experimental Bartender Competition.

The late night cocktail bar also represented the UK in The Reykjavik Bar Summit that took place in March.

For more information on Orchid and its cocktail offering, visit www.orchidaberdeen.com

Sep 232016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

jenni_head-and-shoulders-3

Jenni Fraser, business development manager at VisitAberdeenshire, will attend Meet in Scotland this October.

Ahead of an upcoming networking mission to North America, tourism body VisitAberdeenshire is to meet with key tourism buyers closer to home. Representatives from the organisation will attend Meet in Scotland – an intensive two days of scheduled appointments with the meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) industry – in St Andrews from 6-7 October.
The event’s speed-dating-style approach will allow VisitAberdeenshire to liaise with key buyers from across the UK and Europe, promoting the world-class facilities and services on offer in the north east of Scotland.

Jenni Fraser, business development manager at VisitAberdeenshire, says,

“For years, midweek hotel prices in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire were at a premium, however room rates across the region are now more competitive than ever before.

“Add to this the fact that Aberdeen International Airport is currently progressing a £20 million expansion programme and there has never been a better time for event organisers to bring delegates to the north east – whether for meetings, conferences and exhibitions or for incentive breaks.”

Competitive room rates and improved infrastructure are just one part of the picture VisitAberdeenshire will paint to buyers in St Andrews. Attendees will also hear about the massive improvements to conferencing facilities in the north east of Scotland.

Jenni continues,

“There has been significant investment into the meetings and conferencing facilities in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire in recent years, with many exciting new developments on the horizon. Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre is undergoing a huge £333 million expansion and relocation, not only improving the facilities on offer but also moving closer to the airport to benefit delegates flying in from across the UK, Europe and beyond.

“Other venues like the Aberdeen Art Gallery and the Music Hall – which are linked to the region’s rich culture – are also currently experiencing an extensive renovation. These two developments, worth a combined £37 million, will add to the region’s unique offering for meetings, gala dinners and drinks receptions.”

Attendance at Meet in Scotland is just part of the work undertaken by VisitAberdeenshire to promote the north east to the European business community. Jenni explains,

“Immediately after Meet in Scotland, we will welcome 11 influential German buyers to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, in conjunction with VisitScotland. These are major players in the European MICE sector who stand to bring a considerable amount of business to the region.

“Following on directly from their attendance at Meet in Scotland, the buyers will visit the north east to experience all the area has to offer – from fantastic accommodation and meetings facilities at Meldrum House Hotel, Fyvie Castle and Fasque Castle to some of the city’s finest local food and drink, including a special beer tasting with Brewdog.”

For more information about Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and the facilities on offer to the meetings, incentive travel, conferences and events market, please visit www.visitabdn.com

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Sep 232016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

banchory-lodge-hotel-over-the-river-view

Over the river view of Banchory Lodge which has been shortlisted in the category of ‘Most Hospitable Hotel’

The diversity of the north east’s tourism industry and the strength of the role it plays across the region has been highlighted in the shortlist of finalists announced in the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards. From luxury hotels to camper vans, from sports events to cultural festivals, from chefs to shop owners, 45 tourism businesses and individuals are in the running for awards to be announced at a ceremony later this year.

Those who pick up one of the regional titles will go on to represent the area at the national tourism Oscars – the Scottish Thistle Awards – when they next take place in 2017.

Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards chairman Peter Sangster says the shortlist underlines how people from a range of backgrounds and businesses play an essential part in a visitor’s experience.

He adds,

“When we think about tourism, we often think about hotels, guest houses and bed and breakfasts but the reality is that a huge number of different businesses can and do influence the experience of a visitor to the area.

“We are thrilled to be able to showcase the restaurants, events, bars, shops, attractions and people who are so essential to our tourism industry. Whether they are winners on the night or not, they should be proud of the role they play.

“As always, the judging panel has had a very hard task in whittling down the entries. We look forward to celebrating everyone’s success at the awards ceremony in November.”

The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony and gala dinner at Ardoe House Hotel in Aberdeen on November 25, 2016. Information about tickets and sponsorship opportunities is available at www.acsta.co.uk

The full list of finalists is as follows:

  • Most Hospitable Hotel – Meldrum House Country Hotel & Golf Course; Banchory Lodge; Holiday Inn Aberdeen West.
  • Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House – Lys-Na-Greyne; Shorehead Guesthouse; Callater Lodge.
  • Best Accommodation Provider (previously Best Holiday Accommodation) – Deeside Classic Campers; Mill of Nethermill Holidays; High Seas Hobbits.
  • Best Informal Eating Experience – Merchant Bistro; No.10 Bar & Restaurant; Mains of Drum
  • Best Restaurant Experience – Eat on the Green; Banchory Lodge; Luigi’s Italian Restaurant, Holiday Inn Aberdeen West.
  • Friendliest Pub/Bar – Feughside Inn; McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale; The Grill.
  • Best Cultural Event or Festival – Celebrate Aberdeen; Scottish Traditional Boat Festival; Taste of Grampian.
  • Best Sporting Event – Aboyne Highland Games; Braemar Gathering; Baker Hughes 10K Running Festival.
  • Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience – Go Ape Crathes Castle; Glen Tanar Estate; Deeside Activity Park.
  • Working Together for Tourism – Aberdeen Art Gallery and NTS at Drum Castle; VisitAberdeenshire; The Spotty Bag Shop.
  • Best Visitor Attraction – Royal Lochnagar Distillery; Braemar Castle; Museum of Scottish Lighthouses.
  • Tourism and Hospitality Hero – Jean Ryrie, Jurys Inn Aberdeen Airport; Aamir Mir – Ardoe House Hotel; Elma McMenemy – Elma McMenemy Tourism.
  • Innovation in Tourism Award – The World’s Only Aberdeen Angus Trail; NTS Drum Castle Gardens and Estate; High Seas Hobbits.
  • Regional Rising Star (age -30) – Craig Rochester – Eat on the Green; Kadri Soerunurk – Sound Festival; Gemma Cruickshank, VisitAberdeenshire.
  • Regional Ambassador (age 31+) – Des Cheyne -Spotty Shop; Claire Bruce – Glen Tanar Estate; Elma McMenemy – Elma McMenemy Tourism.
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Sep 162016
 

peter-medley2With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

VisitAberdeenshire will swap the north east coast of Scotland for the Nevada desert this October, as the tourism organisation visits IMEX America.

The exhibition, which takes place from 18-20 October in the newly renovated Sands Expo and Conference Centre, will bring the meetings, incentive travel, conferences and events (MICE) markets together with tourism operators from across the globe.

This will be the first time VisitAberdeenshire has exhibited at the renowned American business travel event, allowing the organisation to network with 3000 hosted buyers and 2000 attendees to show what Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have to offer.

Peter Medley (pictured), business development director at VisitAberdeenshire, says,

“There has never been a better time for us to promote business travel to Aberdeen from the USA. Icelandair’s new flight routes via Reykjavik have opened up a more flexible travel schedule to visitors, alongside existing routes via traditional international hubs in London, Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam.

“We’ll be showcasing Aberdeen as a centre of excellence for far more than oil and gas.  For example, the research conducted at the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University extends far beyond oil, gas and renewables. We can attract further conferences and events to the area by underlining the city’s expertise in key areas including the life sciences.

“At IMEX America, we will stress this diversity of knowledge with key buyers and organisers looking for suitable destinations which have access to world class professionals to host their future conference and event needs. We have previously exhibited at IMEX Frankfurt predominately reaching the European markets, but with improved access to Aberdeen via new flights, the time is right for us to exhibit at IMEX America.

“As with everything in Vegas, it’s on a whole new level with 3,100 exhibitors, 3,000 hosted buyers and 2,000 delegates attending, which makes it a fantastic opportunity for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.”

VisitAberdeenshire will have much to discuss with those attending the conference, not just about Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s far-reaching wealth of expertise but also the region’s developments in meetings and conferencing facilities.

The area’s rejuvenation, he says, shows that despite the current downturn in oil and gas, Aberdeen is still a force to be reckoned with in the meetings and events industry.

He continues,

“Across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, venues and suppliers are continually improving the quality of their offering, and providing new and valuable services to those looking to organise meetings, events and conferences.

“Work is now underway on a £333 million transformation of the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) which will have a significant impact on the MICE industry. Relocating to a site near Aberdeen International Airport, the venue’s facilities for conferences, exhibitions and meetings will be greatly improved, and will be augmented by a state of the art performance arena, hotels, restaurants and leisure facilities.

“The airport itself is also in the midst of a £20 million expansion programme, featuring new passenger lounges, baggage claim and security services. This is an important step in improving the north east of Scotland’s infrastructure for delegates visiting the area.

“Venues which are traditionally associated with the region’s rich culture – including Aberdeen Art Gallery and the Music Hall – are also currently being renovated and expanded. These two developments, worth £37 million in total, will provide unique locations for meetings, gala dinners and drinks receptions in the heart of Aberdeen city centre.”

At a time when Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s room rates are at their most competitive level in recent memory, the region has become incredibly attractive not just to meetings and event organisers, but also to those looking to offer incentives to their clients and colleagues. The area’s many historic castles provide a stunning backdrop for hosting dinners for conference and incentive groups, and nearby whisky distillery tours are consistently a hit with visitors.

Peter adds,

“Conferences today are not just about spending the whole day in a meeting room, and there is increasingly a requirement to offer delegates the chance to get out and about, to network informally and relax between sessions.

“The north east of Scotland, for example, is home to some of the best golf courses in the world – from Royal Aberdeen and the Trump International Golf Links to Braemar, the highest 18-hole course in the UK.

“In addition to our wonderful choice of 56 golf courses, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire offer plenty of opportunities to explore the outdoors, and for team building events to be organised at one of the region’s outdoor centres.”

For more information about Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and the facilities on offer to the meetings, incentive travel, conferences and events market, please visit www.visitabdn.com

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Aug 262016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Visit Aberdeen, the new destination organisation that will market the city to both leisure and business visitors, has appointed a chief executive officer. Steve Harris will take up the job on 14 August, after moving from his current position as Head of UK Media Relations at Shell. Pictured Steve Harris (Photo Ross Johnston/Newsline Scotland)

Tourism body VisitAberdeenshire will cross the North Sea later this month in order to strengthen the north east’s connections with Scandinavia.
Representatives from the organisation will attend Offshore Northern Seas (ONS), a key energy industry event in Stavanger, Norway, from 29 August to 1 September.

Norway is Scotland’s seventh largest international market in terms of visits, spending around 430,000 nights in the country and contributing £68 million to the economy.

In addition to meeting with key Norwegian travel industry operators and media, VisitAberdeenshire has sponsored the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Pavilion which forms part of the conference’s evening festival entertainment in Vagen Harbour.

Open nightly from 5pm to 1am, the festival’s official after-party programme also includes concerts and fireworks displays, and allows delegates the chance to meet in an informal environment after attending the event’s conference, exhibition and technical sessions through the day.

Steve Harris, chief executive of VisitAberdeenshire, says,

“Norway has traditionally been a key market for both leisure and business visitors to the north east of Scotland, and VisitAberdeenshire is keen to strengthen these links.

“Despite the depressed nature of the oil and gas industry, it is still a key driver of business tourism in the north east of Scotland. Aberdeen and the surrounding area is still recognised as a global centre of excellence for the energy industry, and so it makes sense for international events related to the field to be held in the region. Throughout ONS we will be liaising with decision makers in the industry to attract new events to the north east of Scotland.”

Regular flights from Oslo, Stavanger and Bergen allow travellers to touch down in the north east after just over an hour’s flight time. This close proximity allows for great collaboration in both business and leisure tourism.

Steve continues,

“Attending events like ONS allows us to meet with key business and leisure contacts to increase awareness of everything Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have to offer. Aberdeen is consistently one of the most popular destinations for Norwegian visitors, and in fact is the fourth most popular destination for Norwegian travellers in the whole of the UK.”

“New developments like the relocation of the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre will undoubtedly be a big talking point for those interested in bringing large conferences and events to the north east of Scotland. Many business visitors will also be interested in extending their stay in order to enjoy the area’s renowned golf offering.

“And the region also has a lot to offer leisure visitors. Lower shopping prices are incredibly attractive, as are the area’s amazing castles and whisky distilleries.

“With the area’s hotels more competitively priced than ever before, we firmly believe that there has never been a better time for Norwegian travellers to visit Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and we look forward to spreading that message in Stavanger later this month.”

VisitAberdeenshire was launched in April 2016, and is supported by Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils, Scottish Enterprise and Opportunity North East. For more information, please visit www.visitabdn.com

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Aug 182016
 

The countdown has begun to Deeside’s first ever speed hillclimb course on Sunday at the picturesque Kincardine Castle, Kincardine O’Neil.With thanks to James Parker.

2 D Type Jag Morag Yule with Car of the Day champayne (Tony Yule)130 hillclimb cars and bikes will take part, including the 1956 Ecurie Ecosse D-type Jaguar (which has just won Car of the Day at the Ballater Week parade) and motorcycling legend and 8 times Isle of Man TT winner Charlie Williams, on his 1974 Maxton Yamaha.

In all, 400 cars will participate.

A broad cross-section of over 60 static cars will be displayed, including a Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari F50, and AC Le Mans Coupe, Colin Macrae’s MKII Ford Escort rally car, and the Charlie Bang slingshot dragster.

Tesla To Bring The Model X.

We heard from Tesla today that they will be bringing their Model X to their stand at RDSF!

The Model X will, for the first time, be north of Edinburgh and is the 1st Model X out on the road in Scotland.

Model X is the safest, fastest and most capable sport utility vehicle in history. It is, however, ludicrously fast, accelerating from zero to 60 miles per hour in as quick as 3.2 seconds. With all-wheel drive and a 90 kWh battery providing 303 miles of range, Model X has ample seating for seven adults and all of their gear.

18 car clubs with 240 cars will be attending, representing Ferrari, Ford, MG, Aston Martin and Subaru, to name a few.

Tesla will have a special display of their Model S electric luxury cars. Park’s Motor Group of Hamilton head up an enviable array of trade stands with their McLaren, Maserati and Bentley, including McRae and Dick (Honda and Ford); Murray Motor Group (Lotus); Pentland Land Rover Elgin are coming, and also Shirlaws (Kawasaki and Triumph).

Passenger rides on our off-roading courses are to be recommended. The Flowline-sponsored Landrover Experience will offer a thrilling ride tacking the ‘The Rocky Road’, ‘The Toblerone” and “Willie’s Drop”, and a scenic ‘off-road safari’ will be run by the Buchan Off-road Drivers Club.

4 charlie williams 04 charlie NortonThe Clan BMX Stunt Team will be there to take centre stage with their death-defying stunt shows throughout the day, and our Festival Marketplace in the walled garden will showcase food, drink, crafts, beauty products and local businesses.

Kids can enjoy a climbing tower, carousels and bouncy castles.

The finale of our event will be the Westburn Finance Soapbox Derby allowing gravity (along with a few twists and jumps) to prove the thrilling does not necessarily mean engine-powered!

The Event supports the charities Children 1st and Help for Heroes.

Royal Deeside Speed Festival,
Sun 21 August 2016:  09:45am- 5:15pm

Kincardine Castle, Kincardine O’Neil,
Aboyne, Aberdeenshire AB34 5AE

Adult £15, Child £12.50, Family £50 (up to 3 children).

Advance sales via website or cash only tickets on the gate. Free parking.

For further information please visit our website www.rdsf.co.uk or follow us on Facebook (royaldeesidespeedfestival)