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VisitScotland website is to be revamped, not axed

YOU published a report about changes to visitscotland.com ("Tourism website is axed", The Herald, November 8).

While the article points out that the online booking service on the national tourism website will no longer be available, the headline is inaccurate, and could cause confusion.

The national tourism website, the definitive guide to Scotland, is not being axed. On the contrary, our revamped website gives visitors the most comprehensive picture of Scotland ever produced, while thousands of businesses are reaping the rewards of being part of such a wide-reaching online platform.

Tourism is Scotland's biggest industry, supporting 270,000 jobs and generating £11 billion for the Scottish economy. The change to our online booking system was necessary.

When visitscotland.com was developed 10 years ago, for the majority of smaller tourism businesses this was the sole channel for consumers to book directly online with accommodation establishments. Over the years there has been a change in the online booking landscape and there are now many providers.

Against this backdrop, the European Commission has been looking at the rules around state aid and has clarified that tourist boards need to address the way we work with tourism businesses around provision of booking via websites. As a result VisitScotland will no longer act as a third party in taking bookings online.

Our priority is to do what we can to help the industry find the most suitable online booking option against individual business needs.

Malcolm Roughead,

Chief executive, VisitScotland,

94 Ocean Drive, Edinburgh.

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