Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the Scottish Tourist Board



  Tour operator and travel agent contacts in the overseas markets are being encouraged to use information on and to get accurate up to date information on the FMD outbreak and actively reassure nervous clients (in excess of 5,000 overseas contacts).

  All visitscotland/stb international advertising campaigns in our key overseas markets were launched prior to the outbreak. Some 80,000 brochures have been requested and we are working to convert these requests into sales.

  With BTA we worked on the organisation of a World Leaders Summit with major figures from the travel world in the US, Canada and Japan. A dinner in Edinburgh onboard Britannia was co-hosted by the First Minister, Henry McLeish, the Deputy Tourism Minister, Alasdair Morrison, and the Secretary of State, Helen Liddell. The dinner was attended by over 35 influential members of the Scottish tourism trade. The visit included a tour of the Highlands, a photo call at Cawdor Castle and a photo call at Edinburgh Castle with the First Minister and Deputy Tourism Minister.

  Visitscotland/stb events during Tartan Week in the States were used to impress upon market contacts the "Scotland is Open" message. Sean Connery was awarded the Scottish-American Society William Wallace award and used the opportunity to declare Scotland open and ready to welcome visitors. This was well reported in the American and UK press.

  The "Comeback Code" has been translated into French, German, Spanish, Italian and Dutch and is available on

  Copies of the Comeback Code will be sent out with all BTA NYC literature requests on Scotland.


  Visitscotland/stb launched a £65,000 plus press advertising campaign to "Welcome Back" visitors to the countryside and encourage them to use the "Comeback Code". The adverts ran on 11 and 12, 14, 15 and 22 April in the main news section of all Scottish press and regionals in the North of England. A major London Underground campaign began on 17 April as part of the previously postponed Spring Campaign. The rest of the campaign is expected to kick off at the beginning of May.

  TV advertising begins on 30 April. Last year's advert will go out nationally on satellite TV. A new TV advert will begin the same day on Scottish terrestrial TV.

  A direct response ad will begin in the North East towards the end of May.


  Since the beginning of the foot and mouth outbreak, STB's Information Services Department has:

    —  handled c 2,700 consumer enquiries specifically about foot and mouth;

    —  researched information on outdoor activities, attractions, events etc open and being held during the weeks involved so far;

    —  compiled a statistics breakdown by week, covering the origin of callers, their intended travel time and their commitment to their intended travel;

    —  distributed the Comeback Code to ATBs and other public bodies and in response to enquiries from the public;

    —  arranged for additional out of hours telephone answering in support of the Comeback to Scotland campaign (9 am to 7.30 pm 9-13 April, 9 am to 8 pm 16-21 April and weekend cover during office hours); and

    —  begun process of transferring information from Scotexchange to visitscotland (and instigated the appointment of additional visitscotland staff to enable this process).


  There are currently two aspects to foot and mouth content on information for businesses and information for consumers. The information for businesses has been compiled as the outbreak has developed. It encompasses the following:

    —  prominent link from main homepage to specific foot and mouth pages, including full text of the "Comeback Code";

    —  information relating to what STB/visitscotland is doing via;

    —  request to tourism businesses to notify our [email protected] e-mail address with positive PR stories;

    —  marketing and PR and general ideas for businesses to use to offset the impact of foot and mouth. Now also being used in SEn literature;

    —  details and a download of the recovery plan drawn up by STB/visitscotland;

    —  request to businesses to inform us of the impact of foot and mouth on their business by mailing our [email protected] address;

    —  list of foot and mouth contacts—all ATBs, STB, MAFF, SERAD;

    —  the latest update from the Scottish Tourism Forum; and

    —  press releases from businesses relating to the outbreak.

  The information for businesses to use to pass on to their consumers comprises the following:

    —  link to "pop up" with latest details on what's open. This is being updated everyday. The site has seen user sessions increase from 10,000-15,000 per day;

    —  information from each Area Tourist Board on what's open and closed in their area. This information is also accessed through The team have to date been responsible for daily updates, however, the information is due to move to in order that consumers remain on the site rather than being directed to the business to business website (;

    —  full details of the comeback code, including a print-friendly version;

    —  link to BTA web site information;

    —  list of useful contacts and links through to their sites (NTS, HS etc);

    —  all STB and ATB press releases relating to the outbreak are in the Media Office section of our web site; and

    —  newsletter sent to trade associations and those registered with the site informing them of the foot and mouth pages on the site.


  A system has been set up using an external news agency (Scottish News Agency) who have offices in Edinburgh and Dundee) to post four daily travel news bulletins complete with up to the minute photography on which users view immediately when they log onto the site.

  The strongest of these travel news bulletins are then sent to all top daily newspapers in America, Germany, France and Italy with the corresponding picture for use free of charge.

  STB has pushed for updated information to be posted on the on-line media rooms of all BTA web sites overseas. Contact has now been made with the editors of all BTA publications—Britain Calling etc so that Scotland is accurately and extensively reported on.

  A press release on the web initiative has been sent out to all press office contacts (estimated no. 1,200 publications) worldwide.

  An on-going cycle of consumer press releases was sent out on Easter breaks, family attractions, etc with the main focus at this stage being the UK audience. Coverage has been obtained in a number of London based tabloids and broadsheets as well as on-line newspapers.

  We are also working on a number of initiatives including a media dinner (for top travel editors only) designed to push home key messages and drive support for factual, positive travel stories, as well as placing case studies and celebrity endorsement stories with key titles and radio stations.


  Set up the FMD daily briefing.

  Co-ordinated liaison with the Comeback Group—distribution of the Comeback message.

  Regular e-mail updates to Scottish Executive officials on the situation in each ATB.

  Briefing to Ministers of the picture at national and regional level, impressing upon Ministers the need to encourage landowners to undertake the Risk Assessment Model.

  Briefed MSPs on the value of tourism and the need to lift the "Keep Out" message in areas that are provisionally free or low risk.

  Briefed MSPs on debates relating to the crisis in tourism.

  Handled in excess of 140 FMD related press enquiries since outbreak began.


  The short-term recovery plan is now underway and includes a marketing programme, allocation for ATB marketing campaigns, challenge funding, relief of ATB membership, relief of STB quality assurance fees. A copy of the plan is available on

  A mid-term Recovery Plan is currently being discussed with the industry and will be presented to the Scottish Executive by the end of April.

  A new foot and mouth team has been set up comprising marketing, PR and new media experts to work on delivering the short-term recovery plan.


  Following Scottish Executive Guidelines, all remaining QA invoices for the Financial Year 2000-01 were issued on 4 April. A letter was sent with the invoice urging industry customers to contact us if they had difficulty paying as a result of FMD. Any client who informs us of current difficulties will have their accounts put on hold until further notice.


  SCB are preparing for US Meetings Week 23-27 April. The Sales Mission in Chicago, New York, New Jersey and Washington is targeted at American associations, association management companies, large US corporates and industry press. Tourism trade partners are: Aberdeen Convention Bureau, Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, Edinburgh Convention Bureau, Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Greater Glasgow and Clyde Valley Convention Bureau and Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.

  The major European Incentive Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (EIBTM) takes place in Geneva 29-31 May 2001. 22 Scottish trade including convention bureaux, conference centres, hotels, destination management companies, unique and unusual venues.

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