Japanese tourists are expected to start flocking to the north-east following a successful visit from high-ranking officials.
The Japanese ambassador and tourism minister experienced some of the region’s most iconic destinations yesterday as part of a tour introducing the sights to travel agents.
During the trip, they visited the Queen’s Scottish residence of Balmoral Castle, Cawdor Castle near Nairn and Longmorn Distillery to the south of Elgin.
They also experienced some tourist attractions closely linked to Japan by 19th-century merchant Thomas Blake Glover.
Born in Fraserburgh in 1838, the Scottish Samurai played a pivotal role in the growth of the country’s economy and even founded the business which eventually became the Mitsubishi Corporation.
His house in Nagasaki, which is the oldest Western-style building in Japan, attracts more than two million visitors every year.
During yesterday’s tour, the delegation viewed the Thomas Blake Glover collection at Aberdeen Maritime Museum and saw Glover House in Bridge of Don.
In addition, they were treated to a lunch at the Marcliffe Hotel with Aberdeen Lord Provost Barney Crockett and dinner at Blervie House near Forres with tourism secretary Fiona Hyslop.
It is hoped the visit, which follows a trip the Japanese ambassador took to Aberdeen with his wife last year, will encourage more eastern travel agents to include Scottish destinations on their itineraries.
Jo Robinson, VisitScotland regional director, said: “We are delighted to be hosting this visit by the ambassador to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and we have demonstrated what a strong tourism offering the region has for visitors.
“The sky is the limit for Scottish tourism with our focus on attracting more visitors from new destinations.
“The future of Scottish tourism lies beyond our shores – we are connecting operators and tourism businesses to match their global growth ambitions.”
Chris Foy, VisitAberdeenshire chief executive, said: “Japan is a perennially important market for the UK with average spend per visit significantly higher than the average for all inbound visits, coupled with good air connectivity.
“Here in the north-east we offer a great range of experiences that fascinate Japanese visitors, from our golf to our whisky via the beauty of our landscape.
“Our links with Japan through Thomas Glover further strengthen this connection.”