Outlander EffectWritten by Catriona Stevenson
As most of my social media friends (and Outlander Tour guests) will know very well by now, is that I am a huge Outlander fan. I love the books (I am nearly finished book 3), the TV series and of course the wonderful actors. However it was something that I discovered quite late in my “tour” career thanks to the very little information in Scotland about it.
I thought Outlander was a car before March 2015 and this is a pretty ridiculous situation to be in considering it puts our tourism industry on the back foot. I am however, very grateful to experience the Outlander effect, but slightly confused at the lack of real information out there in the land of Outlander that is Scotland.
The Outlander effect is a so-called phenomenon that is not so strange considering the wonderful, descriptive writing talents of the author Diana Gabaldon and the subsequent TV series which was filmed solely in Scotland using local talent and production crews as much as possible. It has meant that thousands upon thousands of fans have been given the push to finally visit Scotland and discover the country that inspired it all.
This does not mean that everyone is booking “Outlander Tours” but thanks to the fantastic cinematography shown on the Hit Starz TV show, many holiday makers are visiting both attractions and towns mentioned in the series but also other locations too - everyone is benefiting from Outlander!
The show has brought an even larger group of fans to the dynamic and thanks to its global outreach, it is making tourism a far more exciting place to work in Scotland right now. Personally, I have had Outlander Tour guests from England, Cyprus, the USA, Brazil, Singapore, Israel, Italy, Spain, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Portugal, Peru and even Japan.
It is therefore a massive surprise that the show does not get more support from the UK / Scotland. The show was completely snubbed in the Scottish Baftas which was absolutely shameful considering the show is filmed here, with many up and coming actors from Scotland. They have even created their very own Pinewood studios here at Cumbernauld, a disused warehouse which has been given life once more. This means that much of the studio work, editing, special effects etc take place in Scotland too. That all being said, it also focuses on Scottish culture and history including the Gaelic language and has created places all over the world teaching Gaelic and Scots. I am yet to find another Scottish made show which has produced such a fandom who have taken on all elements of Scotland in their daily lives.
Then there is Mr Sam Heughan. I really can’t say anymore that that without going into a series of hot flushes but his acting talents are second to none. He certainly works hard and he has managed to portray one of the bravest performances I have ever seen. The fact that this was not recognised makes one think that the Scottish Baftas is merely a political institution and Outlander and its subject matter was too "out there". Slow off the mark guys and a mistake that will come and bite you well and truly on the backside.
Looking to 2016, I am a little more hopeful that the properties and fellow tourism professional will understand more of how Outlander can help them and that they too can enjoy the books and the TV series. I hope that the various filming locations are ready for a surge in visitor numbers to make the customer experience more enjoyable. I am also hopeful that Outlander will finally get the recognition it deserves at the various award ceremonies this year. This is Sam’s year, I just know it.
With that in mind I would like to wish Caitriona Balfe, Tobias Menzies and Outlander all the best in the up and coming Golden Globes, I know you will do well.
Till Next Time Sassenachs