VisitScotland have revealed that a record-breaking 2 million people attended 1049 Homecoming events across Scotland in 2014.
The figure, which has been compiled from independent outcome reports and includes events such as Bannockburn Live, which attracted a capacity 20,000 crowd, Glasgow Film Festival, Pipefest, East Neuk Festival and Scotland’s Boat Show – all of which achieved record-breaking attendances during 2014.
The diverse range of sell-out events and exceptional audience figures across the country, combined with extensive global marketing campaigns by the national tourism organisation has ensured that the spotlight has truly shone on Scotland during 2014.
The success of Homecoming is testament to one of the biggest partnership campaigns ever, with event organisers, local and national government, local communities, schools, and businesses engaging with the special year across Scotland and beyond.
As the curtain closes on the year Scotland welcomed the world, early positive indicators from the year include:
- 1049 Homecoming events throughout Scotland – more than double the initial target of 400
- Homecoming themed events in every Local Authority area in Scotland
- A significant impact on tourism – the first six months of 2014 equated to the strongest first half of a year for inbound tourism to Scotland since 2008
- Funding for 137 events throughout Scotland during 2014
- 43% of funded events were brand new for 2014
- Awareness of the Year of Homecoming reached 83% of Scottish Households
- Over 93% of tourism businesses aware of Homecoming Scotland 2014
- Almost half a million people viewed the dedicated Year of Homecoming web page
- Scottish produce enhanced at a number of events including Dundee Flower and Festival, Loch Lomond Food and Drink Festival and Living Food at Cawdor Castle thanks to the Homecoming Food and Drink Fund
- 36% increase in VisitScotland ancestral database during the course of the year
- Over 6500 people joined the celebration of the Multi-Cultural Homecoming, led by BEMIS (Black and Ethnic Minority Infrastructure in Scotland) and the Scottish Government
- Homecoming promoted to over 500 international and 230 UK based tourism buyers at VisitScotland Expo 2014
- 144 International tour operators used the Year of Homecoming in their own promotions
The Homecoming event programme has been heralded as a major success with many brand new events taking place in Scotland during 2014 including The European Festival of Brass, The MTV European Music Awards, McLaren 2014 and Pipefest. Existing events were also able to extend their programmes as a result of additional Homecoming funding including Borders Book Festival, Big Burns Supper in Dumfries and Doors Open Days.
Over 1000 businesses also benefited from the year, in particular those who proactively developed Homecoming programmes and products including Strathearn Distillery, Inveralmond Brewery and Hebridean Hopscotch, a tour company which saw its bookings rise by over a quarter (26%) this year after tying in with Homecoming Scotland 2014.
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said:
“There really was no place like home for the people of Scotland during 2014. We welcomed the world in their millions and boy did we have fun doing it! We opened our arms and laughed and cheered with our guests. We gave them directions, provided sunscreen and sometimes the odd umbrella. We didn’t just show them a good time – we joined in!
“Scotland enjoyed a breathtaking programme of more than 1,000 events in this incredible Homecoming year, touching every single corner of the country. I am unaware of any other country in the world our size which has delivered events on such a scale and with such prowess.
“The Scottish people took Scottish tourism to the next level in 2014, and as we begin to celebrate the Year of Food and Drink in 2015, we must build on all we have achieved and ensure that people keep visiting our beautiful home – Scotland – for years to come.”
Final evaluation for the Year of Homecoming Scotland 2014 is due in Spring 2015.