A record-breaking 2 million people have attended 1049 Homecoming events across Scotland in 2014,Including several events held here in Dumfries and Galloway Like The Big Burns supper and Wickerman Festival   VisitScotland revealed today (Tuesday 6 January 2015).

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The figure, which has been compiled from independent outcome reports and includes events from all over scotland including severral from here in Dumfries and Galloway !

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.

Fergus Ewing, Minister for Tourism said:

“Homecoming has been a huge success, bringing millions together in a joint celebration of all that is great about our country and showcasing all of our unique attractions and icons to a massive worldwide audience. In 2014, building on the momentum created by the success of previous themed years, we have seen a record breaking number of events and attractions right across the country joining the Homecoming celebration, extending the benefits of the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup across the whole year and boosting the tourism and wider economy.

“The eyes of the world have been on Scotland like never before in 2014 and working together wewill benefit from these experiences as we begin the Year of Food and Drink in 2015 and beyond.”

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.”

Brigadier David Allfrey, Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Chief Executive & Producer said:

“The popular series of Homecoming Taste of the Tattoo performances staged in Glasgow, Stirling and Dundee provided those who were unable to obtain a ticket for the sold-out Military showpiece at Edinburgh Castle with the essence of the 2014 record-breaking production.”

“Yet without Homecoming Scotland creating the appropriate conditions for the three free events to take place outside the Scottish Capital these unique performances would simply not have occurred.”

Alistair Moffat, Festival Director, Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival said:

“Homecoming 2014 marked a record breaking year for the Borders Book Festival.”

“The support we received had two simple effects, we were able to attract nationally renowned names such as Nina Conti, Steve Backshall and Samuel West, and we were also able to deliver a much wider marketing campaign across the rest of Britain to highlight what a wonderful programme we had.

“Add the two together – and we had a very successful year, one which we hope to build on in 2015.”

The Year of Homecoming has already delivered a massive events legacy and 2015 will be no different with Scotland’s natural larder celebrated in the Year of Food and Drink. World class events also set to take place in 2015 include The Turner Prize, EJU European Judo Championships, World Gymnastics Championships and The Open Championship at St Andrews.

Final evaluation for the Year of Homecoming Scotland 2014 is due in Spring 2015.

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