Guild member and deputy chairman Jane Craigie (above left) has been instrumental in launching the Go Rural! initiative to encourage city dwellers and visitors to experience more of Scotland's vibrant rural tourism opportunities. Some 50 rural tourism businesses have signed up for the campaign alongside project partners VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise, NFU Scotland and Scottish Land & Estates.
“Go Rural! was borne from the 2011/12 Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme that I participated in partly in preparation for the Guild hosting the IFAJ world congress in 2014,” says Jane, who in addition to her rural marketing activities has a holiday letting business in Aberdeenshire. She is pictured above with fellow Go Rural! campaigners Martyn Steedman and Caroline Millar
The new organisation’s first task will be to encourage Edinburgh residents and visitors to the city to take day trips and short breaks into the countryside. The lessons learned from this pilot will be used in similar campaigns targeting other major cities in Scotland.
Graeme Dey, a member of the Scottish parliament believes the initiative has real potential for increasing rural tourism: “Having met the driving forces behind it I have every confidence the initiative will be a success and I look forward to seeing the concept being replicated across Scotland in due course.’’
Project members will be offered business development support and training in areas such as social media and digital marketing.
Jane Craigie, pictured in campaign mode at the Guild's Royal Highland Show reception, is promoting the initiative through a Go Rural Scotland! website and integrated social media, which she says will be a vital component of its growth strategy across Scotland.
The full launch of Go Rural! and its website was launched publicly at Glamis Castle with six members of the Scottish parliament in attendance. In recognition of the importance of rural tourism to the Scottish economy, Visit Scotland has awarded £33,000 Growth Fund support for the initiative's marketing campaign.