19 December 2023

Aberdeenshire Council to provide support grant funding for VisitScotland Connect 2024

Aberdeenshire Council is to provide support grant funding for north-east small and medium-sized enterprises to attend VisitScotland Connect 2024 on April 17-18.

The local authority has allocated grant funding for 10 SMEs to attend next year’s event at P&J Live as a way to boost the travel trade offering in Aberdeenshire.

It’s a unique opportunity to grow the north-east’s share of global travel, providing a platform for local tourism businesses to meet with tour operators and travel buyers in person, under one roof.

The grant from Aberdeenshire Council will contribute to the cost of one or two-day attendance as a supplier. VisitAberdeenshire and VisitScotland will provide a programme of support for businesses to become travel trade ready before the event.

This will include ensuring they have a trade-entry on, an understanding of the Connect website, support on selecting the right buyers to meet, help developing their pitch for their at-desk presentations and attendance at a VisitAberdeenshire travel-trade ready workshop and VisitScotland webinar which prepares businesses on what to expect when attending the event.

It aims to grow Scotland's share of global travel in a sustainable way, with tour operators and travel buyers meeting with local tourism businesses and attractions in person.

More than half of international visitors plan and book their travel through the travel trade, with international visitors staying longer and spending more in local communities in every part of Scotland.

International visitors account for approximately a fifth (20%) of total inbound visits but account for 43% of total spending.

Last year was the first time VisitScotland held a workshop-style event, offering a more targeted opportunity to conduct 1-2-1 meetings between trade-ready Scottish suppliers and international buyers.

More than 250 international buyers representing 23 countries travelled to Aberdeen and over the two days, over 6,000 meetings were held with trade-ready Scottish businesses. VisitScotland will operate a number of familiarisation trips for trade buyers during Connect, taking them to see and experience key parts of Aberdeenshire’s tourism offering.

Cllr Alan Turner, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide this additional financial package for a bespoke programme of support which will encourage 10 travel trade ready businesses to attend for the first time. It will enable these local businesses to meet with the likes of tour operators and travel buyers in person and will provide the perfect platform to promote both themselves and showcase Aberdeenshire as a thriving tourist destination.”

Vice-chair Cllr Isobel Davidson added: “VisitScotland Connect continues to play a vital role in establishing important connections between local businesses and the tourist trade which is critical for Aberdeenshire. As a council, we very much welcome being a part of an event which continues to support businesses in their ambitions to internationalise and the subsequent business potential it brings not just to the north-east but to Scotland’s hugely valuable tourism industry.”

David Jackson, VisitScotland Regional Director for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, said: “The funding from Aberdeenshire Council demonstrates their support for tourism in the region by offering a fantastic opportunity for local new to travel trade-ready businesses to apply to attend VisitScotland Connect 2024. The event has been praised for its importance in establishing connections, supporting businesses in their ambitions to internationalise, driving higher spend and visitations to the region and the subsequent business potential it brings to Scotland’s valuable tourism industry.”

VisitAberdeenshire is currently inviting eligible businesses to apply at

Eligible businesses must meet the following criteria:


  • Aberdeenshire-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • Visitor attraction or experience provider offering a tourism product that can be contracted at trade rates
  • Cannot have attended VisitScotland Connect or VisitScotland Expo before
  • Commit to the Travel Trade support programme delivered by VisitAberdeenshire and VisitScotland
  • Commit to attending VisitScotland Connect on either Wednesday 17th or Thursday 18th April
  • Businesses must have a trade listing on VisitScotland's Travel Trade website