VisitScotland woos US travellers to Shetland with TV series

VisitScotland, Scotland’s national tourism organisation, is looking to attract US holidaymakers to Shetland with its ‘Born to Explore’ television series.

‘Born to Explore’ is a half-hour weekly television series being aired in the US on ABC America to audiences of more than one million. The target audience is families and, in each episode, they visit a country and explore the people, culture and wildlife there.

The ‘Born to Explore’ film crew visited Shetland in May last year. Hosted by Steve Mathieson, VisitScotland’s Island Manager on Shetland, they filmed for three days, capturing the island’s wildlife, beautiful gardens, world-renowned archaeology, and its artistic and cultural heritage.

As part of the shoot, the crew visited Unst to film the replica Viking Longship and longhouse, and interviewed archaeologist Val Turner. They also visited Dim Riv to experience traditional music in The Lounge. The crew went on to film at Noss and Sumsburgh Head, where they had the opportunity to interview RSPB warden Helen Moncreiff.

The crew also visited Doreen Brown, who has knitted special jumpers for Shetland ponies for VisitScotland marketing campaigns. The team were presented with a hand-knitted jumper with the ‘Born to Explore’ logo.

The last day of the visit included filming at Lerwick fish market and visiting Gue ponies.

‘Born to Explore’ is reportedly a hit in the US, as Steve Mathieson comments on the fantastic response to the show: ‘I am thrilled at the response following the airing of the Shetland episode of Born to Explore. We worked very hard with the production company to ensure they captured as much of Shetland as possible.’

‘The quality and popularity of this series is exceptionally high and leaves viewers in no doubt that Shetland is a spectacular destination to visit. ‘The series is broadcast on one of the main TV networks in the US, targeting families and, showcasing Shetland on an international stage, this type of exposure is priceless.’