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Nacht vision Scotland’s only nocturnal wildlife tour focuses on German visitors

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A Scottish company that offers “the only nocturnal wildlife tours in the Northern Hemisphere” is focusing its night-vision cameras on Germany.

Based in Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway, Nocturnal Wildlife Tours is one of six tourism firms heading to Germany this week as part of VisitScotland’s latest business development mission to one of Scotland’s biggest international markets.

Set up last summer, Nocturnal Wildlife Tours takes guests to risk-assessed wildlife areas in a Land Rover kitted out with a state-of-the-art, externally mounted thermal camera and internal viewing screens.

Those on the tour are then able to get out and enjoy unique views of everything from field mice and hedgehogs to roe deer and even bats through thermal imaging cameras.

Following the tour, which is conducted by wildlife ranger and photographer Keith Kirk, customers are sent a specially edited video to commemorate their experience.

VisitScotland’s two-day business development mission to Hamburg and Frankfurt (15-16 November) will give businesses the chance to hold face-to-face meetings with key tour operators in Scotland’s second biggest international market.

Cowan Scott, owner of Nocturnal Wildlife Tours, says that joining VisitScotland’s mission to a market worth £175 million to the Scottish economy and which welcomes 323,000 visitors a year was important to the growth of his business.

He said: “This is the most effective way of channeling German visitors towards our tours. People don’t automatically think they can watch wildlife at night so we are breaking down barriers and showing visitors that their day doesn’t have to end at 5pm. It’s something you can do all-year round and the reaction from those on the tours has been fantastic.”

According to the 2015 VisitScotland International Conversion Study, outdoor activities ranked highly among German visitors, with 78 per cent enjoying the scenery, 42 per cent taking walks of over two miles, 34 per cent enjoying hillwalking and nearly a fifth (17 per cent) watching wildlife.
Highland Safaris, based in Aberfeldy in Perthshire, is also going on the mission, along with Speyside Wildlife and Cairngorms National Park.

Julie Riddell, Director of Highland Safaris, said: “Germany is a great market for Highland Safaris, with a high proportion of German visitors citing their key driver for coming to Scotland as the outdoors and nature. This is an exciting time for Highland Safaris. Over 25 years in business, we have never stopped loving taking individuals and groups on to the hills of Highland Perthshire to engage with our wonderful nature and, with the launch of Loch Tay Safaris in 2017, it will be a thrill for us to extend our adventures on to the beautiful and mystical waters of Loch Tay.”
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:“VisitScotland supports industry in their aspirations to internationalise and to attract more business and income from international markets. Our mission to Germany is a cost-effective way for Scottish businesses to maintain existing relationships and to establish new ones with German tour operators. Worth £175 million a year, Germany is a key market for Scottish tourism and I’m sure this mission will prove an enjoyable and beneficial experience for all of our partners.”

VisitScotland’s partners on the business development mission are:

• Highland Safaris – Aberfeldy, Perthshire
• Knockdow House – Toward, by Dunoon, Argyll
• The Lovat Hotel – Fort Augustus, Highlands
• Nocturnal Wildlife Tours – Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway
• Speyside Wildlife and Cairngorms National Park
• White Stag Tourism – representing Abbotsford House and Cringletie House Hotel in the Borders

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