A TOOLKIT will help Scotland’s tourism industry capitalise on the fast-growing lure of the nation’s Gaelic heritage.

VisitScotland’s new asset offers advice and resources on using Gaelic and its culture to improve visitors’ experience.

Its contents will be “frequently updated” and include some basic phrases for staff to use and details on the Gaelic origins and meanings of place names.

The move comes amid surging interest in the language, with more than 300,000 people enrolled in Gaelic courses on language learning app Duolingo.

The VisitScotland website received a 56% boost in the popularity of its Gaelic content between 2018 and 2020 – and its explainer video on the language went viral, with more than half a million views online.

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The tourism organisation’s director of industry and destination development Riddell Graham said: “As an industry, tourism is extremely fortunate to have an asset like the Gaelic language sitting ripe to enrich the visitor experience.

“It provides an extra layer of authenticity for visitors and has a unique culture you can only truly experience in Scotland.

“This new toolkit aims to help businesses across the country embrace Gaelic.

“We have worked closely with partners to create this valuable resource and believe Gaelic will continue to prove a huge benefit to Scotland’s identity and capture the imagination of the Scots at home and around the world.

“As the tourism industry starts to recover from the devastation of Covid-19, finding ways to position Scotland as a unique and special holiday choice is vital.”

The toolkit includes a directory of Gaelic resources helping businesses develop their Gaelic offering as well as case studies illustrating how the language can benefit tourism.

These include offering Gaelic lessons to people online during lockdown to stay engaged with potential visitors.

A VisitScotland survey of tourists found that, with no prior promotion, 34% of respondents felt that Gaelic, as a national language of Scotland, enhanced their visit and wanted to find out more about it.

The toolkit is available on the tourism body’s website.

Shona MacLennan, ceannard (CEO) of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, which helped fund the scheme, said: “The National Gaelic Language Plan recognises that Gaelic tourism plays an important part in using, learning and promoting the language.

“This toolkit contributes to fulfilling this aim.”