Scotland preparing for tourist influx in 2014
As 2013 draws to a close, Scotland is fully gearing up for next year, when thousands more tourists are expected to flock to the country.
Billed as the year ‘Scotland welcomes the world’, 2014 will see the country host not only the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, featuring many of the planet’s finest athletes, but also the Ryder Cup of golf at Gleneagles, when Europe will renew its rivalry with the USA.
As a sign of how much Scotland will be offering visitors next year, Lonely Planet recently placed the country third in its Best in Travel 2014 list, which was topped by World Cup hosts Brazil.
To capitalise on these two huge sporting competitions, the government has organised Homecoming Scotland, a year-long coordinated programme of inspirational events, including the Forth Road Bridge’s 50th anniversary celebrations and the biggest-ever re-enactment of the Battle of Bannockburn at Bannockburn Live.
Scotland’s airports are also preparing for the influx of visitors by putting on more flights. These include Edinburgh Airport’s new direct services to and from Chicago and Philadelphia to cater for Americans coming over for the Ryder Cup.
The competition takes place at Gleneagles in September – only the second time Scotland has ever hosted the prestigious event, which pitches the USA’s best golfers against Europe’s elite. Expect a fervent atmosphere and a partisan, but respectful home crowd. With Europe having won the last event, the USA will be seeking revenge.
Glasgow is the host of the 20th Commonwealth Games, which sees the top athletes from each of the 53 Commonwealth Nations, which were formerly part of the British Empire, competing in track and field, cycling, diving and other sports. Fans will be hopeful that the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, makes an attempt to win his first Commonwealth medal.
Local interest will be provided by the likes of the swimmer Michael Jamieson and gymnast Dan Purvis. However, Scottish hero Sir Chris Hoy has retired and won’t be competing in the velodrome named after him.