A TOURISM strategy aimed at delivering authentic and memorable visitor experiences by celebrating Gaelic culture, heritage and language has been launched as part of Seachdain na Gàidhlig (World Gaelic Week).

The Gaelic Tourism Strategy for Scotland 2024-29 was launched at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh by VisitScotland’s Rob Dickson, singer and director of World Gaelic Week Joy Dunlop and Amina Shah the chief executive of the National Library of Scotland.

The Sgeul exhibition at the National Library is the venue’s first dual-language exhibition, bringing to life the central role of the storytelling tradition to Gaelic culture.

The latest plan highlights an increasing interest in the Gaelic language and culture, from both domestic and international visitors, helping to create opportunities for tourism across the country.

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Reacting to the new plan, Scottish Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth (above) said: "Gaelic is a central part of Scotland’s heritage, and we are determined to ensure it is integral to our future.

"That is why it is so important that we promote it as part of our current cultural life both at home and to other countries.

“We know there is a growing appetite among domestic and international visitors to discover more about the role Gaelic plays in our national story and this strategy will help our tourism sector to deliver on that.”

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VisitScotland developed the strategy alongside representatives from the Scottish tourism industry and partners including the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland.

The priorities include increasing visitor awareness of Gaelic, improving access to Gaelic resources, skills and training for the tourism industry, and supporting businesses to recognise opportunities and incorporate Gaelic within their offering.

An increased interest and value associated with Gaelic language and culture was highlighted in the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2021 where 79% of people thought Gaelic is either important or very important to Scotland’s cultural heritage.

It is also a topic that is of growing interest to visitors – from 2018 to 2021, there was a 72% increase in the number of users visiting the VisitScotland website to look at Gaelic content.

On the new plan, Shah said: ““We welcome this bold new strategy for Gaelic Tourism. Our first dual-language exhibition, Sgeul, has proved hugely popular and has been especially valued by Gaelic speakers. International visitors are captivated by Gaelic culture and its rich storytelling tradition.    

“We hold the largest collection of Scottish Gaelic manuscripts in the world, and we are committed to playing a key role in celebrating Gaelic language, culture and heritage.

READ MORE: Scottish Gaelic songs added to archive for World Gaelic Week

"Thanks to generous funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, we recently appointed a Gaelic Storymaker in Residence, Kirsty MacDonald, and we will soon publish our next Gaelic Language Plan.”

The new plan highlights some of the innovative ways that businesses and organisations in the tourism, culture and heritage sectors are using Gaelic to connect with visitors and local communities.

For example, in the Highlands, the Cairngorms National Park Authority has created a local Slighe na Camanachd (Shinty Trail) which allows visitors to explore the history of the sport and its importance to the Gaelic language.

Glasgow hosts the largest Gaelic community outside the Western Isles and the creation of the Glaschu.net website showcases the Gaelic heritage of the different neighbourhoods in Glasgow as well as different aspects of Gaelic culture in the city and how to experience them.