May 122017
 

With thanks to Ian McLaren, PR account manager, Innes Associates.

Massed pipe bands at Aboyne Highland Games

One of Aberdeenshire’s leading traditional events is seeking the public’s input as it prepares to shine a spotlight on a century and a half of its history.

The organisers of Aboyne Highland Games are calling on the public to share their memories and photographs of the iconic Royal Deeside event as it prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary later this year.

All of the contributions will be included in a special commemorative memory book that will be on display at this summer’s event. For visitors who wish to share their games memories on the day itself, boards will be set up to allow written reminiscences.

An extensive written and pictorial archive documenting the event’s history is held by the Aboyne Highland Games. However, the organising committee is keen to hear personal memories and see still or moving images of the games from those who have attended over the decades.

Aboyne Highland Games has become a highlight of the Deeside events calendar since its founding in 1867. It has been held annually on the town’s green for the past 150 years, with the only exception being during both world wars. This year’s event takes place on Saturday, 05 August and is once again expected to welcome up to 10,000 visitors.

The inaugural Aboyne Highland Games was held on Saturday, 31 August 1867 following just a month of planning and was well attended. The Aberdeen Journal of Wednesday, 04 September 1867 noted that:

“When the time arrived for beginning the competition, several thousands of spectators, of all classes, and all out for a holiday, surrounded the large enclosure on the muir.”

Today, the games is held on the first Saturday in August and features a packed programme of 95 traditional highland events, including solo and massed piping, highland dancing, light and heavy athletics and fiddle competitions. A popular feature is the 6.8-mile hill race that follows part of the Fungle Road and circles the base of Craigendinnie. With total combined prize fund of over £13,000 on offer, Aboyne Highland Games attracts some of the country’s leading pipers, dancers and athletes. 

After a near 40-year absence, one of the events that featured in the programme of the first games is being staged to mark the event’s milestone anniversary. Pole vaulting will be included in the Saturday afternoon programme for the first time since 1978. Once a staple of highland games events throughout Scotland, the discipline is now only contested at a handful of games each year.

Alistair Grant, chairman of Aboyne Highland Games, said:

“Aboyne Highland Games has been an important and much loved fixture of the Deeside calendar for a century and a half. We know it has played an important part of many people’s lives and are keen to hear from those with memories of the event, either as spectators, participants or involved in its organisation.

“Our minute books contain extensive written records of the evolution of the games, from the initial meeting on Saturday, 27 July 1867 where the idea of holding a highland games in Aboyne was first discussed, through to the present time. Although factual, these do not capture the people’s story of Aboyne Highland Games, which is vital for our memory book.

“Reaching our 150th anniversary is an important milestone in the history of the games. As we look back with great fondness and celebrate the history, heritage and culture of the local area, we also look to the future. To welcoming new faces annually on the first Saturday in August who can join us in making history and helping shape the future of this important Deeside event.”

The deadline for submitting photographs and memories is Thursday, 01 June and these can be e-mailed to secretary@aboynegames.com. Further information regarding sending photographs by post is available on the Aboyne Highland Games Facebook page.

Founded in 1867, Aboyne Highland Games is a traditional Scottish highland games held annually on the first Saturday in August.

The Aberdeenshire event, held under the patronage of Granville Gordon, the 13th Marquis of Huntly, attracts crowds of up to 10,000 people each year. Featuring a programme of traditional highland games events, including highland dancing, tossing the caber, piping and fiddle competitions, the event on the town’s green attracts visitors from around the world and makes an important contribution to the local Deeside economy.

Further information on Aboyne Highland Games can be found at www.aboynegames.com.

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Apr 072017
 

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

The Federation of Chefs Scotland has appointed its youngest ever President.

David Littlewood (34), chef proprietor of both The Tor Na Coille Hotel in Banchory and The Kildrummy Inn by Alford, was elected President at the organisation’s AGM in Glasgow.

Littlewood takes over from previous president Ian McDonald, Executive Chef, St Andrews Links Trust.

David’s culinary titles include Scottish Chef of the Year, Grampian Chef of the Year, Grampian Young Chef of the Year and the SHA Awards Medaille d’Or.

He has also held the accolade of Grampian Restaurant of the Year, was a member of the Scottish Culinary Team and is a Masterchef of Great Britain.

Under the ownership of David and his family, The Kildrummy Inn has been named Rising Star Scottish Restaurant of the Year in 2014 and was runner up in The Observer Food Monthly, UK Restaurant of the Year in 2014. David’s team took over The Tor Na Coille hotel in Banchory in March this year.

David says of his appointment,

“I was very lucky to be mentored by great chefs in my early career; they inspired me and challenged me and through this, they showed me the immense value in supporting the next generation of great Scottish chefs. I feel that it’s incumbent upon all of us who have learned from other professionals to continue this tradition.

The Federation of Chefs Scotland is an important organisation in driving up standards and our current members play an influential role in enthusing young people about Scottish food and to work in our industry.”

The Federation of Chefs Scotland (FCS) – run exclusively by Scottish chefs – exists to promote excellence in the industry across Scotland through supporting and developing young chefs through training. Alongside David, Jav Aziz, Executive Chef at Rangers, has been appointed Vice President. Robbie Penman and Vikki Munro have also joined the board.

The FCS encourages participation in culinary competitions, and fundraises to support young chefs to undertake national and international learning experiences. The Scottish Culinary Championships at ScotHot and the Scottish Chef of the Year are organised by the FCS, and the not-for-profit organisation also champions helping Scottish pupils to know more about their food through the Chefs@School project.

There are currently 100 Scottish chefs volunteering their time to work with 15,000 pupils.

Outgoing FCS President Ian MacDonald says of David’s appointment,

“David is the youngest president of the Federation of Chefs Scotland. He’s achieved his success with his passion and drive, not only for his own work but for the development of youngsters in our industry through his supportive mentoring.

“I believe that David’s focus on attracting young talent and developing and challenging them to achieve is the way forward for the Federation. I know that David will make the Federation stronger in all different areas of our work and I wish him well during his tenure.”

The 25-bedroom Tor Na Coille Hotel has been a landmark building on Royal Deeside since the reign of Queen Victoria. David and his team, which includes 2017 Scottish Culinary Championships Scottish Chef of the Year bronze winner Colin Lyall, have begun to develop the hotel restaurant as a must visit foodie destination. More about the Tor Na Coille can be found at www.tornacoille.com.

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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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Mar 172017
 

With thanks to Martin Ford.

In an initiative by Aberdeenshire’s Democratic Independent and Green councillors Councillor Martin Ford is asking Aberdeenshire Council to ‘give consideration to the feasibility of creating a significant visual arts, museum or other cultural facility as part of its redevelopment of the Harlaw Road site in Inverurie’.

Cllr Ford’s call comes in a notice of motion he has submitted for debate at the next meeting of Aberdeenshire’s Education and Children’s Services Committee on 23 March.

It has only been possible to submit notices of motion for debate at Aberdeenshire Council’s policy committees since 27 January this year when the Council’s new scheme of governance was introduced (previously notices of motion were restricted to Area Committees and full council).

Cllr Ford’s notice of motion says:

“Aberdeenshire Council shall give consideration to the feasibility of creating a significant visual arts, museum or other cultural facility as part of its redevelopment of the Harlaw Road site in Inverurie. The consideration process shall include seeking public views, establishing what external funding sources might be available and discussions with potential partners who may want to be involved (e.g. the local universities).”

Committee chair Cllr Alison Evison has confirmed Cllr Ford’s notice of motion will be included on the agenda for next week’s Education and Children’s Services Committee meeting.

Cllr Ford said:

“The motion doesn’t commit the Council to anything beyond an exploratory process. But it’s an exploratory process we should do, and we need to do it now before the site is master-planned.

“Essentially, the motion asks the Council to think about the possibilities, and have discussions with others. Why would it not do that?

“The motion is deliberately not prescriptive about the kind of facility. That needs to be discussed and a decision emerge from consultation and dialogue.

“Personally, I rather like the idea of an ‘Aberdeenshire Museum’, but that’s clearly just one possibility. I want to see what comes out of the discussion and consultation that I hope results from the motion I have tabled.

“The point is, who would have predicted the V&A going to Dundee? Someone had to suggest it, against all reasonable expectation, and it happened.

“There is certainly room on the Harlaw Road site.

“A major cultural facility would bring significant benefits for the Aberdeenshire economy and tourism. It would also contribute to the quality of life for residents and raise the profile of the area.

“Clearly, funding will be an issue – which is why the motion asks the Council to look at external funding possibilities and open discussions with potential partners as part of an initial exploratory process.”

Cllr Paul Johnston said:

“This is a good idea. At this stage, agreeing the motion does not commit the Council to expenditure, it only opens the door to exciting possibilities.

“The Council should be keen to hear the public’s views.”

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Feb 072017
 

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

VisitAberdeenshire is looking to capitalise on £175 million of German tourism spend in Scotland by attracting new visitors to the north east of Scotland.

The tourism organisation will attend VisitScotland’s Frankfurt Workshop – an exhibition and Burns Supper – on 7 February. VisitAberdeenshire business development director Jenni Fraser will meet key business tourism trade decision makers to promote Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to the German travel market.

While at the exclusive German event, Jenni (pictured) will promote Lufthansa’s direct air links between Frankfurt and Aberdeen International Airport, as well as the wealth of conference and event venues throughout the region.

The trip to attract business travel from Germany – Scotland’s second largest international inbound travel market – follows hot on the heels to a VisitAberdeenshire leisure travel trade mission to the Stavanger Travel Day in Norway last week.

Jenni says,

“The future of business tourism in the north east of Scotland is looking bright, with several important developments set to revitalise the region’s offering to conference, events and incentive organisers.

“The city’s infrastructure is currently undergoing a massive overhaul, including the £20 million expansion of Aberdeen International Airport which will greatly improve services available to international travellers. As well as encouraging new direct flights, these improvements will also enhance the experience of those travelling on existing routes including from Frankfurt.

“Ground has also been broken on the £333 million redevelopment of Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) which will transform the north east’s conference and meetings offering, for both large and small scale events. As well as relocating nearer to the airport – making it more convenient to business travellers – the new AECC will also boast increased exhibition and meeting space.

“Similarly, Aberdeen Art Gallery and the Music Hall are also undergoing major refurbishments – worth a total of £37 million. These will not only increase leisure facilities in the city centre, but also offers unique spaces for drinks receptions and gala dinners.

“Aside from major developments, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire boast some incredible independent venues that are perfect for smaller meetings and incentive provision. From exclusive use of a historic castle or a privately-chartered steam train; conferences at a unique seafront venue or golfing at one of over 50 world-renowned golf courses; Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have so much to offer.

“We look forward to meeting with key German business tourism buyers to encourage them to visit Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.”

For more information about conferences and events in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire – or about the region in general – visit www.visitabdn.com

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Feb 022017
 

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

VisitAberdeenshire’s business development manager Jenni Fraser.

Over 6,000 Norwegian holidaymakers will have the chance to learn all about the north east of Scotland when VisitAberdeenshire heads to the Stavanger Travel Day this weekend. The tourism body will exhibit at the top travel event held in the Clarion Hotel Stavanger on February 4.

VisitAberdeenshire’s business development manager Jenni Fraser and tourism executive Raeanne Farquhar will attend the event, which will allow them to speak directly with Norwegian travellers to reveal everything Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have to offer.

With multiple airlines operating direct flights between Stavanger and Aberdeen, including SAS and Wideroe, there has never been a better time for Norwegians to visit the north east of Scotland.

Exhibition attendees will even have the opportunity to win a weekend in the Granite City with flights provided by Wideroe. The lucky winners will stay at the Macdonald Norwood Hall Hotel, and will receive tickets to any Aberdeen Festival which coincides with their visit.

Jenni says,

“Norway has long been an important market for tourism in the north east of Scotland, and at just over an hour’s flight time it’s easy to see why. The region is appealing for Norwegians looking for a weekend city break or to explore some fantastic countryside.

“Historic castles and traditional whisky distilleries remain a big draw for Norwegian tourists. From Slain’s Castle in Cruden Bay, which inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula, to the regal Royal Lochnagar Distillery, nestled in the hills beneath Balmoral Castle, the north east of Scotland certainly isn’t a disappointment.

“But whisky and castles aren’t the only reason that Norwegian travellers make the journey to visit Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. The fact that there are over 50 golf courses, including impressive links courses along the Aberdeenshire Coast, is a real attraction – the Norwegian Golf Federation, the country’s fourth largest sporting organisation, boasts over 103,000 members.

“World-class outdoor activities in Royal Deeside and wider Aberdeenshire, and a growing reputation for fine food and drink, mean that more and more holidaymakers are considering the north east as a holiday destination. And our cultural offering – including festivals like True North and the Aberdeen International Youth Festival – also provides a unique programme of entertainment that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

 “We look forward to meeting the Norwegian public in Stavanger, and showing them all that Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have to offer.”

For more information about Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, visit www.visitabdn.com

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Jan 272017
 

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

A high-profile treasure hunt expected to attract over 3,000 visitors is to be held in Aberdeenshire in 2019. Thanks to support from VisitAberdeenshire, the UK Mega geocaching event will welcome participants – known as cachers – from across the UK, Europe, USA and Canada.

The week-long geocaching event will take place from 5-11 August 2019, with camping and entertainment at Deeside Activity Park as well as organised activities including Munro climbing and watersports.

This allows visitors the chance to explore Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s stunning landscape by searching for caches – hidden containers which house secret messages, log books and sometimes prizes – before the main event on Saturday 10 August at Kincardine Castle.

Cachers use GPS and other navigation tools to aid them in their quest: a modern-day treasure hunt that has captured the imagination of thousands of outdoor enthusiasts across the globe.

Aberdeenshire won the bid to hold the 2019 UK Mega event, beating strong competition from Sussex. UK Mega has been running high-profile geocaching events since 2008, changing location each year to allow enthusiasts the opportunity to travel the country. This year’s event will be held in Devon, while the 10th anniversary event will take place in Yorkshire in 2018.

Julie Buckingham, chair of Aberdeenshire Mega 2019, says,

“We are delighted to have been successful in bidding for the Geocaching UK Mega to come to Aberdeenshire in 2019. Cachers travel from all over the world to take part in the UK Mega, so this is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the incredible scenery and attractions in the north east. VisitAberdeenshire has supported us through the process, and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the run-up to the event.”

UK Mega has been brought to the north east with the help of tourism body VisitAberdeenshire. Business development manager Jenni Fraser (pictured) says,

“Geocaching has become incredibly popular in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and there are dozens of caches across the region – both in the countryside and in the city centre.

“Royal Deeside is a real focal point for the region’s geocaching community and is home to Scotland’s only GeoTour – which takes in 20 locations – so it is an ideal choice to host the UK’s highest-profile geocaching event. We are delighted that UK Mega has chosen Aberdeenshire to host its 2019 event, and we look forward to welcoming the global geocaching community to the region.”

For more information about the Aberdeenshire Mega 2019, visit www.mega2019.org.uk

For more information about geocaching in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, visit www.visitabdn.com/what-to-do/royal-deeside/geotours

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Jan 192017
 

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

VisitAberdeenshire is teeing up for success by heading Stateside to showcase Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s world-class golf facilities to a global audience.

The tourism organisation will visit the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando from 24-27 January – one of the world’s biggest golf shows – where they will meet with key industry professionals in a bid to boost the region’s golf tourism trade.

The trip is the latest initiative in VisitAberdeenshire’s drive to increase golf tourism in the north east of Scotland, following sponsorship of the Northern Ireland Open last year.

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

“Golf has long been one of the biggest draws for visitors to the north east, attracting both leisure and business tourists throughout the year.

“Holidaymakers looking to play at some of the world’s most famous links courses, and business visitors using the fairways for networking and incentive travel, have lots to discover in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

“Golf is worth around £220 million to the Scottish economy every year, and it is estimated that golfers spend 120% more than other visitors. With such fantastic facilities in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, there is a real opportunity for local golf courses and tourism businesses to capitalise on and benefit from that income.

“By attending the PGA Merchandise Show – a major event in the golf world – we’ll be able to communicate the strength of the offering that we have here in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to hundreds of key contacts.”

Research commissioned by Scottish Golf Tourism and VisitScotland shows that Scotland is third on a list of desirable golfing destinations across the globe (#1 Spain, #2 Portugal, #5 Ireland, #9 England).

Jenni continues,

“The north east of Scotland is home to over 50 top golf courses, including some of the sport’s most recognisable names: Royal Aberdeen, Trump International, Cruden Bay and Newmachar. But it also features some of the UK’s quirkier and more historic courses, including Britain’s highest 18-hole course at Braemar, and Fraserburgh where play dates back to at least 1613.

“Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have something to offer golfers of all levels, whether serious enthusiasts looking to tick a renowned course off their bucket list or casual players seeking a friendly nine-hole challenge. From stunning links courses to incredible inland courses, the north east has it all.”

VisitAberdeenshire will be joined at the PGA Merchandise Show by tour company Bonnie Wee Golf, which creates exclusive golf trips to some of the most exclusive courses in Scotland – including many in the north east – and Meldrum House Country Hotel & Golf Course.

David Harris of Bonnie Wee Golf says,

“For a long time, golf has been a key attraction in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and every year we see golfers coming from America to play some of the most famous courses in the world, right on our doorstep.

“The chance to visit one of the world’s biggest golf exhibitions with VisitAberdeenshire is a fantastic opportunity to network with industry professionals, discuss the sport’s latest developments, and show what we in the north east of Scotland have to offer the global golfing community.”

Andy Burgess of Meldrum House Country Hotel and Golf Course adds,

“We are delighted to be partnering with VisitAberdeenshire and Bonnie Wee Golf at the 2017 PGA Show in Orlando. We have been attending the show for the last seven years, and as a result have welcomed hundreds of American golfers to stay at Meldrum House to play golf around the north east.

“Attending events like the PGA Show sends out a very positive message and shows that we are serious in developing our international golf market, encouraging as many global visitors as possible to experience golf in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.”

For more information about golf facilities and in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, visit www.visitabdn.com/attractions-and-activities/golf

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Jan 132017
 

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

Tourism body VisitAberdeenshire will journey to Scandinavia this week on a mission to capitalise on the booming number of Norwegians going on overseas holidays.

The organisation will exhibit at the Oslo Tourism Fair from 13-15 January, where they will have the chance to speak directly with holidaymakers about the world-class facilities on offer in the north east of Scotland.

Between 2003 and 2015, Norwegian holiday expenditure rose across the globe by an incredible 158% – from £4.7 billion to £12.2 billion.

VisitAberdeenshire’s Jenni Fraser (pictured) and Raeanne Farquhar will attend the exhibition to encourage more travel to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to benefit from this rise in spending. They will be joined by partners Aberdeen Festivals and bmi regional – which operates direct flights between Oslo and Aberdeen.

Business development manager Jenni says,

“Norway has traditionally been a key market for both leisure and business visitors to Aberdeen, and the city continues to be one of the top three Scottish destinations for Norwegian travellers.

“Increasingly Norwegians choose to holiday abroad rather than at home, and in 2015 spent 307,000 nights in Scotland – spending £36 million. Aberdeen is well connected to Norway with flights operating from Oslo, Stavanger and Bergen, and so offers an attractive weekend break destination for those looking to get away from it all.”

Norwegian travellers are often attracted to the UK where, thanks to a favourable exchange rate, shopping and dining are far more affordable. While at the Oslo Travel Fair, VisitAberdeenshire will showcase the north east’s top restaurants, bars and shops, while highlighting the attractions, entertainment and hotel offers available in the city and surrounding area.

Jenni continues,

“Norwegian visitors are often drawn to the region by our stunning castles and historic whisky distilleries – and for good reason. The imposing ruin of Dunnottar Castle, perched perilously atop a rocky cliff face, and the fairytale-esque Fyvie Castle are amongst some of the area’s top attractions, while distilleries like Glen Garioch and Royal Lochnagar offer tours to allow visitors the chance to see how single malt is made.

“And while they may come for the castles and whisky, visitors will have the opportunity to discover all that the area has to offer – from world-famous golf courses, including Royal Aberdeen and Cruden Bay, to outdoor adventure activities.

“We will also unveil the 2017 Aberdeen Festivals programme to a Norwegian audience. Events like the sound festival have already built strong connections with the Norwegian and wider Scandinavian cultural community, and we look forward to sharing what’s ahead with those in Oslo.”

For more information about Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and the region’s leisure tourism facilities, please visit www.visitabdn.com

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Jan 132017
 

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

The local business community has expressed its support for the Aberdeen Christmas Village, which helped boost trade during the festive period.

Spearheaded by Aberdeen Inspired in partnership with Aberdeen City Council and Codona’s, hundreds of thousands of people visited the winter wonderland over the five weeks it was open.

Organisers have received positive feedback from visitors, artists, craftsmen/women as well as local business owners, who commented on increased footfall through their doors and a rise in sales.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“The Aberdeen Christmas Village is exactly the type of event which is needed to drive increased footfall and dwell time in the city centre. It was our ambition, along with our partner organisations, to build on the success of last year and create an even larger festive event.

“It was brilliant to see the public get into the Christmas spirit and enjoy everything the Village had to offer. We have also been pleased with the response from the businesses in the city centre, a number of which have been in touch with us to comment on the positive difference they noticed throughout the festive period in terms of increased footfall. It was a key aim of ours to achieve a knock-on effect for local businesses, which further emphasises the tremendous benefits of big events like this in Aberdeen.”

Julie Haig, owner of Haigs Food Hall, Schoolhill, said:

“We were delighted with the footfall the Christmas Village brought to Aberdeen city centre and our business. It created a real buzz in the city and it was great to see so many people out and about enjoying the Christmas Village.

“We are looking forward to seeing it back again this year and would like to give a huge thank you to Aberdeen Inspired and Aberdeen City Council for all of their hard work making this event happen.”

Aberdeen City Council leader Councillor Jenny Laing said:

“The Aberdeen Christmas Village has once again been a tremendous success and we are delighted to have worked with our partners to provide what has become a mainstay of the city’s events calendar.

“Running alongside the village, Aberdeen City Council also brought the Christmas Tree Maze to Union Terrace Gardens and the response from the public was fantastic.

“By coming out and supporting these attractions in numbers, people have demonstrated they will support bright, engaging and innovative events and that provides great confidence as we seek to build on the foundations we already have in place.

“We are planning for a bigger, better and busier programme of events for 2017 than we have ever had before in Aberdeen. There are a number of major dates in the diary already and more to follow.

“Aberdeen City Council is looking forward to working with our many partners in the year ahead, investing in events and facilities, as the city’s role as a cultural hub and tourist destination continues to grow.”

Mr Watson added:

“This year we were also happy to offer stalls to up to 30 hugely talented local artists and designers to give them a platform to sell their products. It was fantastic to see their presence being enjoyed by the public.

“We would like to thank everyone who visited and enjoyed the Village, the stallholders and our staff and partners for all their hard work. Our talented team will continue to work hard to bring projects to fruition that will enhance the city centre and drive footfall. We are always looking to build on our successes and in doing so we take on board all constructive feedback. We are very excited about our current plans, which include the globally renowned Nuart street art festival in the spring.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district and driving footfall to the zone.

More information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at www.aberdeeninspired.com

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