VisitScotland.com was the trading name of eTourism Ltd, a private limited company set up by a public-private partnership in 2002. It was currently jointly owned by VisitScotland (Scotland's national tourist board), Tiscover, Partnerships UK Ltd, and Atos Origin, though as of December 2012, ownership has been transfer solely to VisitScotland.
VisitScotland.com operates a bookings and information service for visitors to Scotland. Accommodation availability information, as well as more general information about Scotland, is provided over the World Wide Web via the www.visitscotland.com domain and by telephone via the National Booking and Information Centre. Information is also made available to 120 Tourist Information Centres networked across the country.
VisitScotland.com claims that its web site receives 5 million unique users each year, making it the country's most comprehensive source of bookings and information on Scotland.
VisitScotland.com was initially a jointly owned company, with shareholders including Atos Orign, Tiscover, and Partnerships UK Ltd, as well as VisitScotland itself. This quickly became a divisive issue with many in the Scottish tourism industry. A number of accommodation providers, particularly those outwith the main cities, lodged a petition with the Scottish Parliament to return the group to public ownership, arguing that the use of public money to fund the parent company eTourism Ltd was disrupting competition, an assertion which eTourism unconditionally rejected.
On 7 November 2008, it was announced that ownership of VisitScotland.com was to be transferred solely to VisitScotland, with public funds totalling £1.2 million being used to purchase shares from all other shareholders. This move was described as a "bail-out" by The Scotsman newspaper. VisitScotland.com denied that the deal was made because of financial difficulties, instead claiming logistic reasons were behind the decision.
- About VisitScotland.com
- Petition to return VisitScotland.com to the public sector
- National tourism website is handed £1.2m bail-out, The Scotsman, 7 November 2008