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Don’t miss the boat! New VisitScotland campaign

Eight thousand people are being given the chance to enjoy a free return trip to one of 23 islands in Scotland as part of a special VisitScotland competition.

After the overwhelming success of Brilliant Island Moments last year, VisitScotland has once again teamed up with Caledonian MacBrayne and Serco NorthLink Ferries to encourage people to discover for the first time or reacquaint with Scotland’s islands.

The new campaign, which is open to UK residents from 25 February 2015, offers 8,000 free passenger tickets for an offshore adventure. There will be a draw each week, up until 25 March with 4,000 winners receiving one pair of foot passenger tickets for their chosen route.

In 2014, a record-breaking 63,000 people from the UK entered the Brilliant Island Moments prize draw, nearly double the amount of entrants for 2013’s campaign (35,000).

Brodick on the beautiful Isle of Arran was the most popular destination with 9,470 requests. In second place was Shetland (8,989), Lewis (7,048), Mull (6,710) and Orkney (6,204) took third, fourth and fifth respectively.

The Islands Survey revealed that of the 425,000 visitors who went to the Outer Hebrides, Shetland and Orkney between 2012 and 2013, around three quarters said that they would be likely to return in the next five years for a holiday or short break. The Survey also revealed visitors contribute over £100m to the local economies.

Brilliant Island Moments is part of a £1.4 million UK & Ireland marketing campaign (January – March) to encourage more domestic visitors to Scotland.

As well as being highlighted on VisitScotland’s TV advert, Brilliant Island Moments will also be promoted via a mix of press, radio, online and social media.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said: “In Scotland we are very lucky to boast hundreds of islands, each with their own diverse landscape, rich wildlife, unique character and delicious food and drink. From rugged mountainous geography to Caribbean like white sand beaches, there are so many reasons to visit our islands.

“After the huge success of Brilliant Island Moments last year, which saw over 63,000 entries, we’re delighted to once again team up with Caledonian MacBrayne and Serco NorthLink Ferries. With such a delicious choice of island produce to try during the Year of Scotland’s Food and Drink, there’s never been a better time for people to get out there and discover their very own Scottish island paradise.”

Martin Dorchester, Managing Director of Caledonian MacBrayne, said: "Scotland is not short of stunning islands and we are delighted, once again, to support VisitScotland in its aim to help more and more people discover their own Brilliant Island Breaks. As the operator of the UK's largest ferry company, carrying 4.65 million people in 2014 alone, CalMac is very much part of the island tapestry and we are proud of our place at the heart of these unique communities the length and breadth of our 200-mile long network. We are delighted to play a part in sharing our heritage and experience with visitors - whether they be returning travellers or newcomers."

Stuart Garrett, managing director of Serco NorthLink Ferries, said: “We are delighted to support VisitScotland’s Brilliant Islands Moments 2015 campaign.

“At NorthLink Ferries, we are committed to showcasing what the Northern Isles have to offer, from the fascinating history to the stunning scenery and like to think the tourist experience of Island hospitality starts as soon as they start their journey with us.”

Scotland boasted six winning beaches in the recent TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice awards for Beaches. Isle of Harris’ Luskentyre was named eighth best rated in the UK while Calgary Bay on the Isle of Mull came 20th and Kiloran Beach on the Isle of Colonsay came 25th.

In 2014, Lewis and Harris were named among the world winners of TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Islands awards. Lewis and Harris beat tropical rivals in Thailand, Chile and Madagascar to be included in the top five islands in the world, also making it the number one island in Europe, based on the reviews and opinions of millions of travellers on TripAdvisor.
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