Get Scotland's ticket to value

TORONTO, April 7 /CNW/ - This year, Canadians can save their Scotland vacation dollars by snapping up some great value passes and deals. From ancient castles and monuments, to rich history and world-class heritage sites and vibrant cities full of festival fever, there are superb savings to be had.

The Canadian dollar remains at a ten year high against Sterling. And bargains keep getting better too, with Canadian tour operators and Scottish tourism businesses introducing new value for money deals in 2010 to get you here for less and a range of superb passes to reduce costs on the ground.

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell said: "Scotland's unrivalled heritage and world-class festivals are among its biggest draws, attracting millions of global tourists each year. With this Heritage Pass, our Canadian visitors can stretch their vacation dollars to include low-cost entry to more than 120 of Scotland's ancient castles, historic houses and monuments and the Edinburgh Festivals' Passport makes it easier than ever to experience the best of Scotland's unique culture and vibrant creativity. Coupled with the current preferential exchange rate, this is a great time for our friends in Canada to get the most out of their visit to Scotland."

FLY-DRIVE

Royal Scottish Tours offers a full range of great value fly-drive packages, including a Heritage Scotland option, new this season. www.royalscottishtours.com

If golf is more your thing, let Ultimate Golf Vacations put together your dream golf vacation, at a competitive price. www.ultimategolf.ca

PASSES

The Scottish Heritage Pass allows access to more than 120 historic properties in Scotland and is available for purchase through the travel trade (commissionable rates to trade). The pass represents real savings of more than (pnds stlg)45 ($68 CAD) on an adult ticket. Canadian consumers can book a Scotland heritage vacation via Royal Scottish Tours.

The Edinburgh Festivals Passport is for trade sales only, offering small group and FIT clients a 'best of the fests' experience, handpicked by a festivals insider at preferential rates. The passport is available as part of a 3 or 5 night Scotland package, from $1390 CAD, including accommodation, tickets, tours and ground transport, bookable through In2Scotland. www.in2scotland.com

The Edinburgh Pass offers free entry to 30+ top attractions, free return airport and city centre bus transport, free comprehensive guidebook as well as loads of exclusive offers - the best way to discover all that Edinburgh has to offer. Typical savings of (pnds stlg)20 ($30 CAD) on a 3 Day Pass. www.edinburgh.org/pass

The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Trail Ticket offers entry to all Mackintosh properties in Glasgow, as well as free travel on public transport in the city, all for just (pnds stlg)16 ($24 CAD). This represents real savings of more than (pnds stlg)10 ($15 CAD) www.crmsociety.com/trailticket

Regional Golf Passes offer great value by purchasing rounds in bundles for a huge array of golf courses across Scotland. www.visitscotland.com/golf

ACCOMMODATION

Hotel du Vin in Glasgow and Edinburgh offer luxury at its finest, with an immense appreciation for fine wine and fantastic food in their bistros. They have a number of superb deals on offer, including half-price Fridays and Sundays, or room rates for only (pnds stlg)25 ($38 CAD), when you spend (pnds stlg)75 ($115 CAD) in the brasserie! www.hotelduvin.com

Malmaison in Edinburgh and Glasgow are boutique hotels that dare to be different. Edinburgh's Mal is perched on the Forth in Leith, overlooking the harbour and the Glasgow Malmaison is a converted Episcopal church with elegant rooms and opulent suites, a fabulous bar and classy brasserie. Deals include rooms for as little as (pnds stlg)10 ($15 CAD) on a Sunday when you eat in the brasserie! Also take advantage of Mal's new partnership with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society by adding an exclusive whisky tasting to your stay. www.malmaison.com

The Town House Collection, with 4 properties in Edinburgh and the impressive Blythswood Square opening this year in Glasgow, is a group of stylish luxury boutique hotels. The hotels all occupy distinctive, period town houses in convenient areas of both cities, but each has its very own character, ambience and quirky points of interest. There are fantastic deals on offer, like the Art Lovers Escape for (pnds stlg)130 ($199 CAD) per person for 2 nights. www.townhousecompany.com

Culloden House in Inverness is offering a superb rate of (pnds stlg)62.50 ($96 CAD) per person bed & breakfast. Standing in nearly 40 acres with the freedom to wander about elegant lawns and parkland, this mansion house was formally the battle headquarters for Bonnie Prince Charlie before he set out for the fateful Battle of Culloden! www.cullodenhouse.co.uk

If cheap and cheerful is what you're looking for, you can't get much better than (pnds stlg)19 ($29 CAD) rooms at Travelodges across Scotland. www.travelodge.co.uk

FOOD & DRINK

Find the best deals for dining out at 5pm.co.uk. 5pm lets you to book fantastic offers at restaurants all over the country without booking charges or fees. www.5pm.co.uk

Malmaison's 'The 3 Tenners' deal offers fine dining in either the Edinburgh or Glasgow restaurant. Two people can enjoy two courses for (pnds stlg)20 ($31 CAD) or (pnds stlg)30 ($46 CAD) with wine. www.malmaison.com

Try 'afternoon tea', a very British tradition, in the spectacular setting of Blythswood Square in Glasgow. Leaf teas or freshly brewed coffees served with fresh scones, preserves and Devonshire clotted cream from (pnds stlg)9.50 ($14 CAD). www.townhousecompany.com/blythswoodsquare

TRANSPORT

Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) sail to twenty-four destinations on Scotland's West Coast, from Arran in the south to Lewis in the north, making island-hopping in Scotland easy. CalMac recently underwent a Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) scheme, which reduced the fares of many of the routes to the Outer Hebrides by as much as 50%! www.calmac.co.uk

Why not pick the cheaper and greener option to explore Scotland by using Citylink's comprehensive bus network? More than 400 services per day connect over 200 towns and cities across the country and the affordable Explorer Pass gives you 3 days of travel for only (pnds stlg)35 ($54 CAD). www.citylink.co.uk

Scotrail's Scottish rail network will transport you between Scottish destinations in relaxed comfort and with speed. Save up to 75% on rail fares when booking in advance and great discounts are available for over 55s. www.scotrail.co.uk

    
    Notes to Editors

    -   VisitScotland is Scotland's national tourism organisation. Its core
        purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
    -   All offers are subject to availability and at the discretion of the
        supplier.
    -   Estimated dollar rates calculated at an exchange rate of $1 CAD :
        (pnds stlg)0.65 GBP on 23 March 2010.
    -   Your dollar is now worth more; that's $1 worth (pnds stlg)0.64 in
        March 2010 vs. the same dollar buying you only (pnds stlg).49 back in
        July 2008.
    -   With Canadian visitors spending an average of (pnds stlg)671 during
        their stay in Scotland, the new exchange rate means Canadian visitors
        would save over $300 with their trip to Scotland in 2010.
    

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE VisitScotland

For further information: For further information: Claire Dickson - PR Executive, North America, VisitScotland, +44 (0)7917 067850, claire.dickson@visitscotland.com

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