A new television advert launches on Monday pushing Shetland as the ideal “overseas” destination for Scots considering a change of scenery this summer.
The Promote Shetland commercial, which will air across Scotland, tells viewers: “There’s never been a better time to book a break to spectacular Shetland.”
It is thought to be the first time a national television advert has been used to attract tourists to the isles and comes as the country starts emerging from lockdown.
It features iconic Shetland scenes including the tombolo at St Ninian’s Isle, Eshaness cliffs and of a couple kayaking around the shoreline.
David Nicol, managing director at NB Communication, which runs Promote Shetland, said the time was right to broadcast as the Covid-19 situation was improving across the country.
While a strong summer tourism season could boost Shetland businesses, Mr Nicol said it was crucial to get the message out when visitors could be welcomed safely.
“The advert has provided an exciting opportunity to explore new ways of promoting Shetland,” said Mr Nicol.
“It has been a bit of a challenge trying to plan, with so much uncertainty, but it definitely feels like the appropriate time to begin promoting Shetland to a wider, domestic audience.”
The advert was made in collaboration with Loganair, which has recently increased the number of flights into and out of Sumburgh Airport. It acknowledges the anxiety that some travellers may have.
Loganair chief commercial officer Kay Ryan said: “We are delighted to play a part in helping showcase Shetland’s stunning scenery and all the great reasons to visit this beautiful part of the United Kingdom.
“We are also extremely mindful of our passengers’ well-being, and full details of our ‘Flysafe’ healthy flying protocols are available on our website, along with our ‘Flexprotect’ programme which outlines our flexible bookings conditions as we continue to transition out of travel restrictions.”
Shetlanders Neil and Natasha Clubb took part in the filming – spending the day as “tourists” enjoying the scenery and famed isles’ hospitality.
Mr Clubb said being involved was great fun.
“We’ve not told many people about it so I can’t wait until my friends in Glasgow see it on the TV and realise that it’s us,” he said.
“The filming experience was really good fun. We had a whole night in Fjara filming and then down in St Ninian’s Isle and up in Eshaness. It was fascinating seeing how the filming is done.
“I hope the advert encourages people to come up to Shetland and enjoy all that it has to offer. There’s lots of opportunities to get outdoors, from cycling and paddle boarding to birdwatching and fishing. It really is an adventure playground.”
Although the finished project looks spectacular, the Shetland weather added an extra challenge for Burra-based film-maker Stephen Mercer.
He shot the footage in April, during the cold snap that left snow lying on the ground for weeks. Mr Mercer said it was an interesting project and added that, frosty conditions aside, the “amazing locations” helped sell the destination.
Promote Shetland is stressing the need for all visitors to exercise caution when travelling this year and has published guidance urging all tourists to take two lateral flow tests before making their journey.
The project was supported by the STV Growth Fund and match-funding from Promote Shetland and Loganair.