Apr 012017

With thanks to Julia Heys, Marketing Executive, VisitAberdeenshire.

Scottish Traditional Boat Festival at Portsoy 2010 © Kathy Mansfield

Aberdeen Festivals has announced the addition of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival in Portsoy to further strengthen its portfolio of local member festivals.

Aberdeen Festivals, set up in 2014 to collectively promote festivals, develop audiences and strengthen the cultural sector, has welcomed the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival to its ranks.

The renowned festival, which takes place from 24-25 June 2017, will join 10 existing and diverse festivals including; SPECTRA, Aberdeen Jazz Festival, Look Again, May Festival, Aberdeen International Youth Festival, TechFest, True North, North East Open Studios, DanceLive and sound.

Roger Goodyear, co-chairman of Scottish Traditional Boat Festival commented:

“Joining Aberdeen Festivals has been on the festival’s horizons since the collective was formed in early 2014. We have since watched the success of Aberdeen Festivals through its facilitation of collective marketing and collaborative efforts to profile the cultural offering of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.”

In its 24 year history, the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival has become well known locally and internationally as it uniquely showcases the local marine and cultural heritage of North-east Scotland. The annual festival reports on average 16,000 visitors each year with a high proportion of international attendees.

Roger continued:

“We already have a well-established audience and brand but, of course, there is always room for growth and we are looking forward to the various cross-collaborations with other festivals as well as taking part in the extensive and successful Aberdeen Festivals marketing campaign.”

Festivals in the Aberdeen Festivals group have consistently reported significant increases in audiences and ticket sales. In February this year, SPECTRA welcomed 63,000 visits, up by 28,000 on 2016 whilst Aberdeen Jazz Festival, which took place earlier this month, has already reported a 100% increase in ticket sales.

Steve Harris, chair of Aberdeen Festivals commented:

“Aberdeen Festivals has made substantial strides in its three years of existence. This has been recognised with continued local and private funding, audience and sales increases for each festival and numerous prestigious award shortlisting’s. The addition of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival to the collective, with its well-connected, high profile festival and large international audience, will bolster this success of Aberdeen Festivals further in profiling the North-east as a top cultural tourism destination.”

Aberdeen Festivals has to date secured private sponsorship from energy company, Nexen, major funding from VisitScotland’s Growth Fund along with ongoing support from VisitAberdeenshire, Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council. The group recently secured an E Award, organised by EventIt, for its excellence in digital marketing.

For more information about Aberdeen Festivals, please visit www.aberdeenfestivals.com.

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Dec 062016

With thanks to Julia Heys, Marketing Executive, VisitAberdeenshire.

In light of its continued collaborative work, a group of 10 major North-east festivals has again announced its shortlisting for a national art award.

Aberdeen Festivals, a group formed to bolster the festival product on offer in the region, has been shortlisted for an award at the upcoming Arts & Business Awards 2017.

The shortlist recognises the group’s collective work with local destination management organisation (DMO), VisitAberdeenshire, in positioning the region as an exciting, culturally diverse, place to visit.

The valuable relationship is in the shortlist to win the ‘Placemaking Award’.

Angela Michael, Festivals & Culture Director at VisitAberdeenshire commented;

“We are delighted to have our hard work recognised on such a high-profile scale. The shortlisting reinforces the work this group has undertaken to promote Aberdeen as a culturally distinctive place.”

She continued;

“The successes of this campaign have shown through each of our festivals significantly increased profile and many have reported considerable audience growth. Aberdeen Jazz Festival saw an audience increase of 40% whilst 35,000 people attended Spectra in 2016, compared to the 10,000 that visited in 2015. VisitAberdeenshire’s support, expertise as well as market entry has been pivotal to this.”

The partnership between Aberdeen Festivals and VisitAberdeenshire saw, for the first time, Aberdeen being promoted as a cultural destination. The group, with the DMO’s support, collectively undertook substantial marketing campaigns locally, nationally – across Scotland, as well as London and Newcastle, and internationally – predominantly in Norway.

Steve Harris (pictured), CEO of VisitAberdeenshire and Chair of Aberdeen Festivals added;

“Our collaborative work with Aberdeen Festivals is going a long way towards profiling this region for something other than industry. One of our core goals is to reposition Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire in the minds of our audiences as a creative place, whilst marketing it as a region of cultural prominence. We have already seen great success in profiling the region as a cultural destination and we look forward to continuing this wonderful partnership over the coming years.”

The Arts & Business Scotland award ceremony, which celebrate the most creative and innovative partnerships, will take place on Thursday 23 March 2017, in Glasgow.

Aberdeen Festivals is a cultural initiative representing 10 member festivals and is sponsored by Statoil, and supported by VisitAberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Council. For more information visit www.aberdeenfestivals.com. VisitAberdeenshire is the destination marketing organisation for the region of Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire, further information can be found at www.visitabdn.com.

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May 012015

Copyright: Newsline ScotlandWith thanks to Eoin Smith, Tricker PR.

The organisation which markets Aberdeen as a leisure and business destination – VisitAberdeen – has scooped two major awards for its performance.

VisitAberdeen won a marketing award from the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI) for its Chinese language website, social media presence and attendance at trade fairs both in person and via its partner CBN.

The destination marketing organisation also won the accolade of “The Most Effective Stand For Doing Business” at VisitScotland’s recent Expo.

VisitAberdeen’s Tourism Executive Jenni Fraser was on hand in Bejing to pick up the Chinese Tourist Welcome Award in marketing at the COTRI awards, which coincided with the China Outbound Travel and Tourism Market (COTTM) Fair.

COTRI is the world’s leading independent research institute for information, training, quality assessment, research, and consultancy relating to the Chinese outbound tourism market.

VisitAberdeen’s chief executive Steve Harris (pictured) says,

“We launched a Chinese version of our website earlier this year in a bid to attract a share of the $128 billion China spends every year on overseas leisure and business tourism. We wanted to be ahead of the curve on targeting this highly lucrative market. The Chinese are the biggest overseas spenders in the world, spending on average 50% more than Americans when they are on vacation.

“With a total population of 1.357 billion, only 10m of China’s residents can speak English. With forecasts suggesting 500 million Chinese people will travel overseas in the next 15 years, we believe that it is critical to promote the city as a leisure and business destination to the Chinese in their native language. Receiving this award when we’ve only been working on this project for such a relatively short space of time is especially pleasing.”

The award for “The Most Effective Stand For Doing Business” was presented to VisitAberdeen at the recent VisitScotland Expo held in Aberdeen.

Expo provides a platform for companies and organisations with a Scottish tourism product to showcase products and services to potential global buyers from all sectors.

The Visit Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Pavilion which was created in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council hosted over 525 prearranged business meetings with buyers from across the UK and abroad. The stand was made up of several local partners including Ardoe House Hotel, Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership, Visit Royal Deeside, Thistle Hotels and Secret Malts of Aberdeenshire.

Steve Harris continues,

“Expo gave us a collective opportunity to create personal relationships with genuine buyers and decision makers, many of whom had a low level of knowledge of our area prior to Expo. Personal interaction and the chance to convey the passion of our partners for the beautiful area we live in leads to long lasting business connections, leading to positive business outcomes for all.

“The on stand meetings were just the start, we now need to follow up on these leads to bring more groups of travellers to Visit Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. Picking up this award shows we’re leading the way in maximising the business opportunities these types of trade shows bring for the area.”

VisitAberdeen is a partnership between Aberdeen City Council and the industry including Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels Association and Aberdeen Inspired. For further information contact VisitAberdeen on 01224 900490 or visit www.visitaberdeen.com.

Jan 192015

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Tricker PR.

Angus ForfarAn Alford graduate has made it through to the final shortlist of a prestigious scholarship offering the opportunity to visit Japan to study the country’s language, culture and tradition.
Angus Forfar (22), a former pupil of Robert Gordon’s College, is one of six young people being interviewed for the 2015 Thomas Blake Glover Aberdeen Asset Scholarship, sponsored by Aberdeen Asset Management, next week.

The scholarship, which was initiated by the Japan Society of Scotland, enables one Scottish student the chance to visit Japan to study the language, culture and tradition – an experience described as a “life changing opportunity” by last year’s winner.

The scholarship is open to young people who are at a post-secondary educational level, with preference to candidates whose interest in Japan has a business focus.

Angus’ interest in Japan stems from a number of visits to the country in his formative years. Having lived in Japan as a child while his father completed a PhD in Japanese Anthropology, Angus developed a connection to the country which was strengthened by further family trips and his gap year in 2010, during which he spent five months in Tokyo and Fukuoka.

Angus graduated from the University of Glasgow with a First Class Joint Honours in History and Classical Civilisation. His undergraduate dissertation was a comparative study of Ancient Greek Tragedy and Japanese Noh Theatre.

Angus and the other shortlisted candidates will be interviewed on Monday (19th January) at the Japanese Consulate-General in Edinburgh with the panel made up of four members of the Council of the Japan Society of Scotland, and chaired by Dr Helen Parker, of the Japanese Studies Department of the University of Edinburgh.

One will be chosen to go on a fully-funded intensive language study course at a university summer school in Japan, an experience described as a “life changing opportunity” by last year’s winner Giancarlo Bell (19).

The student of medicine at the University of Glasgow spent six weeks at the International Christian University in Tokyo on an intensive Japanese language course where he achieved A grades.

Giancarlo says:

“I will remember the trip and the friends I made forever. But, more importantly I developed language skills and an adoration for Japanese culture that I will build on for the rest of my life. I realised that, despite my success in the beginners’ course, I am only scratching the surface of a massive, beautiful, seemingly-impenetrable written and spoken language.”

The scholarship is named after the Scottish entrepreneur Thomas Blake Glover who was born in Aberdeenshire in 1838. Glover settled in Nagasaki in 1859 and played a critically important role in opening Japan to the west. Known as the Scottish Samurai, he introduced the first railway locomotive, started the Kirin brewery and influenced the industrial development of Mitsubishi.

The scholarship aims to recognise these successes by providing young Scots with the opportunity to learn about business and culture in the hope of further improving Scotland’s historic links with Japan.

This is the sixth year that Aberdeen Asset Management has sponsored the Thomas Blake Glover Aberdeen Asset Scholarship and chief executive Martin Gilbert, says:

“We are proud to support initiatives which give committed and enthusiastic Scots an opportunity to advance their career opportunities.

“This scholarship offers an exceptional opportunity for one Scottish student to experience Japanese education, industries and lifestyle and an opportunity to forge new partnerships with the country, which has one of the world’s largest economies.”

Jan 082015

VisitAberdeen has announced it will launch a Chinese version of its website in a bid to attract a share of the $128 billion China spends every year on overseas leisure and business tourism. With thanks to Stevie Brown, Tricker PR

Copyright: Newsline Scotland

“Aberdeen has so much to offer the Chinese market.” – Steve Harris, Chief Executive of VisitAberdeen.

The Chinese are the biggest overseas spenders in the world, spending on average 50% more than Americans when they are on vacation. With a total population of 1.357 billion, only 10 million of China’s residents can speak English. With forecasts suggesting 500 million Chinese people will travel overseas in the next 15 years, VisitAberdeen believes it is critical to promote the city as a leisure and business destination to the Chinese in their native language.

Since 2011 the number of seats on flights between China and the UK has increased by 25%, to over 50,000 seats per month according to a VisitScotland report.

VisitAberdeen worked with media agency China Business Network (CBN) to create the site, and will continue to work with them to promote the city to the Chinese market place.

Steve Harris, Chief Executive of VisitAberdeen says,

“The Chinese language website will provide us with the opportunity to reach one of the wealthiest markets in the world, and promote Aberdeen as a leisure and business tourism destination. Less than 1% of the population in China can speak English, so the creation of the new site will allow us to reach the 638 million Chinese people who are online and make $22 billion worth of internet travel bookings every year.

“We will continue to work very closely with the CBN throughout the project to promote Aberdeen to the people of China.  There are so many cultural differences that we have to be aware of, for example there are often censorship issues surrounding websites such as Google in China and Facebook and Twitter are banned. These are often our go-to digital marketing platforms in the western world, but for this project we’re having to utilise different social media platforms such as an app called WeChat, which is similar to the UK version WhatsApp.

“CBN represented VisitAberdeen at the China International Travel Market in November this year, and we are planning to attend two events in 2015 in China; Incentive Travel and Conventions Meetings China; and China Outbound Travel and Tourism Market. These events are important for us to attend as it will allow us to meet and discuss what the Aberdeen area has to offer Chinese tourists with key tourism influencers.

“With excellent connections to hub airports, Aberdeen is easy for Chinese tourists to travel to, with connecting flights from London, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt. Flight times from Beijing to London takes under 11 hours, and with connecting flights between London and Aberdeen taking a little over an hour you could travel China to Aberdeen in a little over half a day.

“Aberdeen has so much to offer the Chinese market. We know from a Visit Britain survey that countryside, cultural and built heritage rank highly with Chinese tourists. Aberdeen has a wealth of these attractions, from the collection of castles which have a rich cultural legacy, to city landmarks like Marischal College, whisky distilleries and breath-taking countryside views.”

VisitAberdeen is a partnership between Aberdeen City Council and the industry including Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels Association and Aberdeen Inspired. For further information contact VisitAberdeen on 01224 900490 or visit www.visitaberdeen.com.

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Dec 192014

Eilidh WhitefordBy Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP.

Last Friday the House of Commons passed an historic piece of legislation, to enshrine in law the promise made over forty years ago to commit 0.7% of our Gross National Income to international development.

I know this is an issue close to the hearts of many constituents, who make their own generous contributions to charities working overseas, and want to see the UK government play its part by meeting its responsibilities as part of the global community.

Although development assistance is a tiny proportion of our budget, it has a big impact on the lives of people affected by natural disasters and wars, and can have a transformative effect on those living in poor countries.

Overseas aid from this country has provided clean water and sanitation for over 43 million people.

10 million children have gone to school who otherwise would not have had an education, and 3.6 million women have given birth safely, supported by a qualified midwife or other medical professional. UK aid has also been instrumental in promoting economic development in poorer countries – indeed, some which have grown to such an extent they have become important new trading partners for us.

Although the introduction of the Bill was a manifesto commitment of all the major parties in 2010, it was introduced as a Private Member’s Bill by former Scottish Secretary Michael Moore. I was disappointed that a few MPs, who opposed the Bill (despite standing on a manifesto supporting it), tried to kill the Bill using some of Westminster’s more arcane parliamentary procedures to scupper it.

It’s enormously frustrating that our democracy is open to such shenanigans. Luckily, the Bill survived and was carried by an overwhelming majority of those present, but the outcome could have been very different.

Our aid money also supports developing countries to build open, transparent and accountable democratic systems of government. Maybe it’s time we paid a bit more attention to our own advice.

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