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Minister announces seminar to promote historic properties

19 August 2008

Culture Minister Linda Fabiani today (Tuesday) visited one of Perthshire’s historic gems to promote partnership working amongst heritage attractions.

Speaking during her visit to Blair Castle, Ms Fabiani announced that a seminar held next month would consider how Scotland’s historic properties can continue to enhance the country’s tourism.

Ms Fabiani said: “Blair Castle is a wonderful attraction, visually stunning and set in an incredible landscape. With all this on offer it is easy to understand why it attracts so many visitors.

“It is also one of the key players in the Historic Properties Group which will be co-hosting Historic Properties – a view to the future with Historic Scotland in September. By listening to each others experiences, operators of these extraordinary buildings can continue to offer high quality attractions that showcase our history.”

The seminar will look at research already carried out across the heritage sector and identifies areas where work can improve the experience offered to visitors.  The seminar will bring interested parties to open up the debate over how best to promote these unique locations.

Ms Fabiani added: “I would especially like to thank the staff for taking time out from their preparations for the upcoming horse trials to show me around and reveal the Castle’s fascinating stories: from being an ancient seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl; being used as a convalescence home; through to becoming Perthshire’s most popular historic visitor attraction.”

Blair Castle was one of the first private homes in Scotland to open to the public and has a five star Visit Scotland tourist attraction rating.   It attracts around 145,000 visitors per annum.   

Sarah Troughton, Senior Trustee of Atholl Estates, said: “I am particularly pleased that the Minister has taken the opportunity to visit Blair Castle at such a busy time of year, when she will be able to observe how visitors from Britain and overseas enjoy the castle and grounds and also see the preparations for The Blair Castle Horse Trials, the only 3 day 3 star event in Scotland, which makes full use of the park and spectacular scenery, with Blair Castle as a backdrop.”

The Historic Properties Group has commissioned research to analyse tourism trends to 2015 for heritage attractions.   The results will be presented to the wider tourism industry at the Historic Properties – a view to the future seminar in Edinburgh on Tuesday 16 September.  This seminar will include an opportunity to exchange views on how to tackle changing visitor trends and visitor expectations, as the markets evolve.   

Notes for editors

  • The Historic Properties Group was set up in June 2005 and brings together senior managers of Historic Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland and office-bearers of the Scottish branch of the Historic Houses Association. The purpose of the Group is to exchange information and share expertise across all aspects of the management of historic properties.  The Group is responsible for exploring opportunities to collaborate on projects which could reduce costs, improve the experience for visitors, raise the profile of historic properties; and strengthen the contribution which the sector makes to tourism in Scotland. Current projects include the Homecoming Pass to support 2008 Homecoming activities.  

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

For further information

Lesley Brown
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07788 923873