TripAdvisor has agreed to collaborate with Scotland’s tourism agency in a deal which could boost the Scottish economy by £150 million.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the VisitScotland deal, a first for TripAdvisor in Europe.
Speaking in New York on the final day of a visit to the US last week, she said it would promote Scottish tourism to 70 million potential new visitors.
The £150 million in potential additional tourist spending is expected to be provided over the next three years.
The deal will also see the two organisations work on a joint marketing campaign in the UK.
Scotland has also been named the preferred “test partner” for new destination marketing services in Europe, allowing TripAdvisor and VisitScotland to work together to understand how the latest technology can be used to allow more people to discover Scotland.
The tourist board is discussing with TripAdvisor how to help grow its social tourism programme, enabling disadvantaged families across the country to take a break, ensuring that the economic benefits of tourism reach all parts of Scotland.
Sturgeon said: “Our tourism industry has always been strong – spending by North American visitors leapt by almost 28% to £633 million in the last year alone.
“However, it’s crucial that we ensure Scotland’s appeal reaches as wide an audience as possible.
“This collaboration will ensure that millions more people will understand Scotland’s appeal, and boost Scotland’s tourism industry for years to come.
“The fact TripAdvisor has chosen Scotland as its first European partner shows just how resilient they believe Scotland’s economy to be – and the fact we were voted the second-best country in the world to visit by the Rough Guide means site visitors are guaranteed a good holiday.”
VisitScotland marketing and digital director Charlie Smith, said: “TripAdvisor is the biggest tourism website in the world based on tourists’ real experiences.
“This partnership will give us the chance to learn from those at the forefront of innovation while inspiring millions of potential new visitors.
“This collaboration will help us put Scotland’s regions, cities and unique experiences on the world stage and to grow our tourism industry for future generations.”
Scottish Conservative MSP Ross Thomson told the BBC: “Any announcement will help to promote our world-class tourism offer here in Scotland should be broadly welcomed.
“However, the SNP government could go a lot further to help the industry by tackling business rates rises, skills shortages and ongoing uncertainty about a second independence referendum.”