The Enchanted Forest, a multi-award winning event, is set to go head to head this week with some of the North East of Scotland’s top tourism businesses at the regional final of the Scottish Thistle Awards, to be held next Tuesday in Aberdeen.

If successful the event, which currently holds the coveted Event Management Grand Prix from the 2011 Scottish Event Awards, will secure a place in the national final this November.

Shortlisted in the VisitBritain Marketing Campaign of the Year Award, The Enchanted Forest will be keeping its branches crossed that its 29% increase in visitor numbers in 2011 will seal the deal as they compete against The Hilton at Coylumbridge for the title.

This year’s Scottish Thistle Awards, which recognise excellence in the Scottish tourism industry, are running with a new regional format which aims to recognise the exceptional efforts made by even more tourism businesses throughout Scotland.

The Enchanted Forest is not the only Perthshire business nominated and will be supporting its colleagues which include; The Famous Grouse Experience, Perthshire Amber, Perthshire Racecourse and Hilton Dunkeld House.

Richard Pinn, Regional Director for VisitScotland, said;

“We are delighted that Perthshire’s tourism businesses have made it through to the regional final of the Scottish Thistle Awards. The region has a great tourism offering in terms of the quality of things to see and do and places to stay here and these nominated businesses have an excellent chance of securing a place at the national Scottish Thistle Awards which will take place this November.”

The ceremony for the North East region takes place on Tuesday 15th May at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.

The Scottish Thistle Awards celebrate excellence across the industry with special emphasis on quality and enhancing the overall visitor experience. VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance scheme seeks to capitalise on this further and aims to position Scotland as one of the world’s best visitor destinations.

VisitScotland will work closely with winners to tailor make a package of benefits to best suit the winners’ needs. This could include, amongst many other options: entry into the Quality Assurance scheme, advertising, promotion in a VisitScotland Information Centre, promotion in VisitScotland PR activity.

Richard Pinn added: “To make the most of the opportunities presented by the next few Winning Years and to capitalise on once in a lifetime milestones like the Olympics, Disney Brave and Glasgow 2014 – the tourism industry as a whole needs to be as polished as it can be. This drive for quality is even more important when we are in the international spotlight.

Businesses need to think about what can help them to shine – whether it’s a Scottish Thistle Award or being graded in our world leading Quality Assurance scheme – now is the time for businesses to do all they can to stay at the very top of their game and reap the rewards.”

The Enchanted Forest, the multi-award winning Perthshire Big Tree Country event, which this year attracted over 26,000 visitors to the Highland Perthshire area, is calling on the local business community to get behind it with a bold and unprecedented move to raise £40,000 of private funding from the businesses that the event directly benefits.

In recent years The Enchanted Forest, which is set to return to nearby Faskally Wood for its 10th anniversary show in 2012, has successfully transitioned from being run by public sector agencies, to being run by a not for profit Community Interest Company.

However with public funding hard to come by, and ever increasing costs of running the event, the Community Interest Company Directors are asking the hundreds of local businesses who directly benefit from the event to help provide the financial backing needed to ensure The Enchanted Forest’s ongoing economic input to the area.

Eddie Thomson, chair of the Highland Perthshire Area Community Interest Company commented
“This has been a tremendous year for the event, winning four major awards and attracting over 26,000 visitors to the area and we’re really very keen for that success to continue into 2012. Over half of The Enchanted Forest customers stay overnight in the area and with increased numbers attending, the overall economic impact of the event is now estimated to be in the region of £1.5million benefit to the local economy.”

“In our most recent feedback survey we asked our customers to tell us which businesses they spent money with while in the area and well over 250 businesses were mentioned by name, ranging from restaurants to take aways, from hotels to retail shops. If each of those businesses were to pledge just £160 then we would have the necessary capital we need to continue to run the event. It’s not much to ask when you consider the sheer extent of the economic impact of the event is almost 10,000 times that much per business – that’s an exceptional return on investment.”

Businesses are being invited to attend an open meeting at Fishers Hotel, Pitlochry at 7pm on Tuesday 20th December, 2011 where there will be an open and public discussion around the future of The Enchanted Forest and how they can play an active role in ensuring its success continues.

To register attendance at this meeting, contact Eddie Thomson, Chairman of the Highland Perthshire Area Community Interest Company by email on info@enchantedforest.org.uk

The Enchanted Forest was founded in 2003 and this year has acquired a string of accolades including the Event Management Grand Prix at the Scottish Event Awards, Best Cultural Event, Event of the Year at the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce Business Star Awards and the Community Award at the Perthshire Big Tree Country Awards.

The Enchanted Forest, a Perthshire Big Tree Country event, has smashed all previous box office records, welcoming over 26,350 visitors during its 23 night run, picking up the Big Tree Country Community Award in the process.

The event, which was founded in 2002 with the primary objective of extending the traditional tourism period, came to a close on Saturday after attracting a record breaking 26,350 visitors, up 31% from 20,000 visitors in 2010.

Attending the Big Tree Country Awards on Sunday afternoon, the Highland Perthshire Area Community Interest Company, who is behind the management of the event, was delighted to hear it had also become the lucky recipient of the Big Tree Country Community Award for its work in spreading the impact of the event amongst local businesses and community projects.

Eddie Thomson, chair of the Highland Perthshire Area Community Interest Company commented
“Winning the Big Tree Country Community Award is the icing on the cake for us, after such an amazing year. We’re truly delighted that our efforts as a community interest company have been recognised by Perthshire Big Tree Country.”

“Such an unprecedented increase in ticket sales is also very good news for the local businesses in the area. 50% of Enchanted Forest customers stay overnight in the area, and a 31% increase in attendance translates into a very strong increase in the overall economic impact of the event, which is now estimated to be in the region of £1.5million benefit to the local economy” he continued.

The Enchanted Forest has also been shortlisted for Event of the Year at this year’s Perthshire Chamber of Commerce Business Star Awards.

Ticket sales for The Enchanted Forest, a Perthshire Big Tree Country event, have broken all previous box office records, welcoming over 24,000 visitors during its 23 night run.

The news comes as the event enters its final week and celebrates the announcements that is has been shortlisted for two further awards.

The Highland Perthshire Area Community Interest Company which has successfully run the show since 2010, has been shortlisted for the Community Award in this year’s Perthshire Big Tree Country Awards, the results of which are due to be announced this Sunday.

The Enchanted Forest has also been shortlisted for Event of the Year at this year’s Perthshire Chamber of Commerce Business Star Awards, however the team will need to wait until Friday 25th November to learn their fate.

Eddie Thomson, chairman of the Highland Perthshire Area Community Interest Company commented “This year has seen unprecedented demand for the event and the box office has been working around the clock to ensure everyone gets their tickets. This is fantastic news for the local area – with a 25% increase in visitors coming to the show this year, over half of which stay in the area overnight, it represents an enormous boost to the income of businesses in the area, from shops to restaurants to hotels.”

The latest figures put the event well ahead of the record breaking 20,000 tickets sold in 2010. The year’s theme, Transitions, was designed by Simon Wilkinson and RJ McConnell, the design team behind the multi-award winning 2010 show. This year’s show has proven to be exceptionally popular with visitors, with many claiming it is the best show yet.

Tricia Fox, marketing manager for The Enchanted Forest said “We are extremely pleased with the performance of this year’s show – there’s a lot of hard work and planning goes into a show of this scale and it’s rewarding that demand is increasing year on year. There are some tickets left for this week however folks had better be quick if they are still thinking about coming to the event this year.”

For further information about the Enchanted Forest and to purchase tickets, visit the Enchanted Forest website at www.enchantedforest.org.uk. The show closes to the public on Saturday 29th October.

Ticket sales for Perthshire Big Tree Country event, The Enchanted Forest, have soared in recent days, and are now selling at a faster pace than ever before.

Eddie Thomson, chairman of the Highland Perthshire Area Community Interest Company which runs the event, commented “The box office has been inundated with phone calls and online ticket sales in recent days, with sales spiking at around 1500 ticket sales per day. This is an unprecedented speed of sales and almost three times the daily volume of tickets we would normally sell at this stage in the show’s run.”

The surge in ticket sales puts the event firmly on the road to selling well in excess of the record breaking 20,000 tickets sold in 2010.

Tricia Fox, marketing manager for The Enchanted Forest said “In total we have an available capacity of just over 25,000 tickets for this year’s event however asking for a 20% increase in ticket sales is a big challenge for the event. However we’ve aimed high and it now looks certain we will comfortably surpass last year’s ticket sales by Monday and, with two weeks still to go, this year’s ticket sales are now destined to break all previous records.”

The year’s theme, Transitions, was designed by Simon Wilkinson and RJ McConnell and has proven to be exceptionally popular with visitors, with many claiming it is the best show yet.

With almost 90% of visitors to the show citing The Enchanted Forest as their main reason for visiting Pitlochry, it is no surprise that the event brings over £1 million of additional spend to the local economy. Over 50% of visitors opt to stay overnight in the area, as well as eat in local restaurants and buy goods in local shops and it is this boost to the local Perthshire economy, at a traditionally quieter time of year, that the Highland Perthshire Area Community Interest Company has as its main objective.

Eddie Thomson commented, “The primary objective of the Community Interest Company is, quite simply, to ensure that Pitlochry retains this amazing event which brings so much to the area and is a genuine boost to businesses, creating jobs and stability in Highland Perthshire. The fact that demand for tickets is higher than ever is great news for both the event and the businesses in the surrounding area.”

For further information about the Enchanted Forest and to purchase tickets, visit the Enchanted Forest website at www.enchantedforest.org.uk. The show runs from 7th – 29th October at The Explorer’s Garden in Pitlochry.

The Enchanted Forest, a Perthshire Big Tree Country event and Scotland’s premier sound and light show, launched last night in an array of dazzling colours to a select audience of press and VIPs at The Explorers Garden in Pitlochry.

The Enchanted Forest, now in its ninth successful year, has been managed by the social enterprise the Highland Perthshire Area Community Interest Company, and is on target to attract up to 25,000 visitors, building on its multi-award winning success at the recent Scottish Event Awards.

The 2011 theme “Transitions” has been designed by Scottish designers Simon Wilkinson (lighting) and Ronnie McConnell (sound) who have created a dazzling and engaging show against the event’s new backdrop at The Explorer’s Garden. The original music score and an artistic lighting design delivers a traditional son et lumiere show that entranced audience members at the launch last night.

Local MP and musician, Pete Wishart, attended the opening ceremony and remarked “This is an absolutely stunning show, with an engaging original music score. It is undoubtedly one of Scotland’s finest events. Not only does it provide an essential boost for the local economy, it opens up nature and woodlands to literally thousands of people in a brand new light, getting them into the outdoors and cheering up our October evenings. Well worth a visit.”

Derek Allan, chair of The Enchanted Forest 2011, commented “The Highland Perthshire Community Interest Company have worked tirelessly this year to build on the success of last year’s award winning production. We’ve continued to work with two of Scotland’s most exciting designers to deliver an experience that our visitors will find breath-taking and unique.”

“The change of venue will be welcomed by visitors both new and returning and have given us enormous challenges as well as exciting opportunities to incorporate architecture and visitors into the show design, giving it a multi-dimensional feel – you will feel like you have been surrounded by sound and light” he said.

This year is also the International Year of the Forests, a series of celebrations around the globe. James McDougall from Forestry Commission Scotland is leading those celebrations in Scotland and knows more than most about the Enchanted Forest being the originator of it, back in 2002 and having run it for the first 6 years. James commented, “The Enchanted Forest is a tremendous example of how woodlands can help generate income for local businesses and it is really great to see that the show is now in its ninth successful year. The International Year of the Forests is about celebrating forests and The Enchanted Forest is a fantastic showcase for Scotland’s natural beauty, attracting visitors from all over Scotland and the world.”

Visitors to the area can also enjoy the Highland Perthshire Autumn Festival events taking place in Pitlochry and surrounding area making it a truly family event.

Work has begun on this year’s Enchanted Forest, a Perthshire Big Tree Country event that is expected to attract over 25,000 visitors to the area over the coming weeks.

Specialist sound and lighting crews from one of Scotland’s leading production companies, NL Productions, arrived on site earlier this week to start the process of bring to life one of Scotland’s major tourism events.

With 10,000 metres of cabling, hundreds of light fittings, 26 distribution boxes, not to mention a team of specialist lighting and sound engineers, the build for the show is expected to take a full two weeks in order to get it ready for the first of 25,000 visitors who will visit the event from Friday 7th October. This year’s show “Transitions” has been designed by Simon Wilkinson (lighting) and R J McConnell (sound) whose combined expertise put on the multi-award winning 2010 event.

Tricia Fox, marketing manager for The Enchanted Forest commented “The build period for the Enchanted Forest is an enormous logistics operation. We’re so used to seeing our world lit up with street lights and building illuminations that we sometimes take it for granted that light (and electricity) is everywhere. But it’s not.”

“Every year we start with a natural woodland setting and absolutely everything, from the power sources to the cabling and even the lightbulbs, needs to be installed from scratch. It takes a team of five working full time, around the clock for a period of 14 days to complete the installation and that’s even before we’ve switched on the lights.” She continued.

Phil O’Halloran, head of NL Productions, commented: “There’s no mistaking that the Enchanted Forest is an intense logistical and technical job for NL Productions, however it’s one that we thrive on and, as we’re now commencing our second year of providing the equipment and production, we’re well versed in everything that nature can throw at us! Working with the Enchanted Forest management team, and with R J McConnell and Simon Wilkinson, we’re really looking forward to bringing the vision for Transitions to life.”

The Enchanted Forest, Scotland’s premier sound and light show, is due to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2012. Managed by the Highland Perthshire Community Interest Company, it recently swept the board at the Scottish Event Awards picking up the gong for Best Cultural Event, a judges commendation for Best Large event and the big award of the evening: The Event Management Grand Prix.

The Enchanted Forest, Scotland’s premier sound and light show, swept the floor at last night’s prestigious Scottish Event Awards, beating off stiff competition from some of Scotland’s finest events to scoop the Event Management Grand Prix, alongside the awards for Best Cultural Event and a commendation for Best Large Event.

The ceremony was held at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange and saw the event, which was run last year by the not for profit Highland Perthshire Community Interest Company, claim Scotland’s top event title against some of the country’s most well known events and festivals including Bauer Radio Scotland’s “Live on Location”, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, Glasgow Film Festival, the Hebridean Celtic Festival, Celtic Connections and Piping Live.

The Enchanted Forest was founded in 2002 with just 3000 visitors attending in its first year. In 2010 the event attracted over 20,000 visitors to the area and now contributes over £1million to the local economy. The Enchanted Forest will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2012.

Derek Allan, chairman of The Enchanted Forest, who was invited to address the audience at the awards ceremony, commented “This is real recognition of what a community can do when they put their minds to it. It is testimony to the hard work and dedication of the many people in Highland Perthshire who have grasped, with both hands, the organisation of such a major event and have added their own touch of excellence to The Enchanted Forest. I am extremely proud of both the event and our team.”

This year the event moves to a new location at The Explorers Garden in Pitlochry and, true to its Big Tree Country roots, will transform this specimen woodland garden into a son et lumiere journey of discovery for visitors that showcases some of the area’s most celebrated trees.

The show “Transitions” has been designed by Scottish designers Simon Wilkinson (lighting) and R J McConnell (sound) whose combined expertise put on the multi-award winning 2010 event.

Organisers have also taken the decision to extend the event’s run from its traditional 17 nights to 23 nights this year, which opens up the event to a potential 25,000 visitors.

For further information about The Enchanted Forest and to purchase tickets, visit The Enchanted Forest website at www.enchantedforest.org.uk

The Enchanted Forest, Scotland’s premier sound and light show, is gearing up to go head to head with rivals for no less than two titles at this year’s prestigious Scottish Event Awards, which will be held at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh tonight.

The Enchanted Forest, which is now run by the Highland Perthshire Community Interest Company, was founded in 2002 with just 3000 visitors attending in its first year. In 2010 the event attracted over 20,000 visitors to the area and contributes over £1million to the local economy.

This evening the event will be competing for the titles of Scotland’s Best Cultural Event and Best Large Event against stiff competition from some of the country’s best known events including Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and the Glasgow Film Festival.

Derek Allan, chairman of The Enchanted Forest said, “We’re very excited about tonight and hope we can bring these trophies back to Pitlochry. Being shortlisted is testimony to the hard work of the Highland Perthshire Community Interest Company and a real reflection of the quality of the event and its continued popularity with the Scottish public.”

This year the event moves to a new location at The Explorers Garden in Pitlochry and, true to its Big Tree Country roots, will transform this specimen woodland garden into a son et lumiere journey of discovery for visitors that showcases some of the area’s most celebrated trees.

Tickets for the 2011 Enchanted Forest event have already gone on sale and with some of the events already sold out. The event takes place from Friday 7th October – Saturday 29th October.

For further information about The Enchanted Forest and to purchase tickets, visit The Enchanted Forest website at www.enchantedforest.org.uk

The Enchanted Forest, Scotland’s premier sound and light show, has been shortlisted for two titles in this year’s prestigious Scottish Event Awards, which will see it battling out for its place at the top against some of Scotland’s most well known events.

The Enchanted Forest, which is organised by Highland Perthshire Community Interest Country under the Perthshire Big Tree Country brand, was founded in 2002 with just 3000 visitors attending in its first year. In 2010, that figure rose to over 20,000 visitors attending the annual event which has become a mainstay of Scotland’s tourism calendar.

This year the event will compete for the titles of Scotland’s Best Cultural Event and Best Large Event. The winners will be announced at a glittering awards ceremony due to take place in Edinburgh on Thursday 15th September.

Derek Allan, chairman of The Enchanted Forest said, “This is excellent news and we’re delighted to be shortlisted in both categories. 2010 was the first event run by Highland Perthshire Community Interest Company – it was a record breaking year on a number of levels and these nominations recognise the hard work and commitment that has gone into the event by local businesses and individuals.”

Tickets for the 2011 Enchanted Forest event have already gone on sale and organisers expect to attract record numbers this year. The event moves to a new location this year, taking root at The Explorers Garden near Pitlochry, from Friday 7th October – Saturday 29th October.

For further information about The Enchanted Forest and to purchase tickets, visit The Enchanted Forest website at www.enchantedforest.org.uk

Over 25,000 tickets have gone on sale for The Enchanted Forest, a Perthshire Big Tree Country event and Scotland’s premier sound and light show. Organisers have announced they expect this year’s event to attract more visitors than ever before, building on the success of the event’s most popular year in 2010.

The Enchanted Forest, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2012, is managed by the Highland Perthshire Community Interest Company, and entertains visitors who travel from across the globe to Highland Perthshire to enjoy the spectacle every Autumn.

“Transitions” has been designed by Scottish designers Simon Wilkinson (lighting) and R J McConnell (sound) whose combined expertise put on an event that was met by critical acclaim in 2010.

The show will be making a major transition of its own this year when, very much in keeping with its Perthshire Big Tree Country roots, it will take up new residence in The Explorers Woodland Garden, Pitlochry. This is the third location for The Enchanted Forest in its nine year history.

The move brings with it a number of fringe benefits which organisers are confident will improve the event’s green credentials, as well as the bottom line for its customers. The new, more central, location means that customers will no longer be required to catch a bus to and from the event, the cost savings of which are being passed on to the youngest visitors (under 3 years old) and to wheelchair users who will now be able to attend the spectacle free of charge.

The organisers have also take the decision to extend the event’s run from its traditional 17 nights to 23 nights in 2011, which opens up the event to a potential 25,000 visitors.

Derek Allan, chair of The Enchanted Forest commented, “We are very excited about this year’s event. Our customers expect us to deliver something new and exciting. The Explorers Woodland Garden is a splendid woodland area with a network of paths and very interesting features that is simply steeped in Perthshire Big Tree Country history. This versatile setting offers our creative team, who achieved record results with last year’s show, an innovative canvas upon which they can continue to develop the wow factor our customers love about The Enchanted Forest.”

Paul McLennan, from Perthshire Big Tree Country commented, “The Explorers Garden is a prime Perthshire Big Tree Country location which highlights the heroic impact of the local Plant Hunters whose introductions helped shape this stunning landscape. The Community Interest Company’s management of the event last year was a huge success and we are confident in their abilities to deliver a show at the very high standards expected of them, in a location that is, in itself, a perfect setting.”

The Enchanted Forest, Scotland’s leading outdoor light and sound event, managed by Pitlochry Area Community Interest Company, has today announced it intends to move to a new venue in 2011.

The event, which began at The Hermitage in Dunkeld in 2002, moved to Faskally Wood near Pitlochry in 2004 and, very much in keeping with its Perthshire Big Tree Country roots, will take up residence in The Explorers Woodland Garden, Pitlochry, this Autumn.

The move brings with it a number of fringe benefits which will improve the event’s green credentials, as well as the bottom line for its customers. The new, more central, location means that customers will no longer be required to catch a bus to and from the event, the cost savings of which are being passed on to the youngest visitors (under 3 years old) and to wheelchair users who will now be able to attend the spectacle free of charge.

The organisers have also take the decision to extend the event’s run from its traditional 17 nights to 23 nights in 2011, which will open up the event to a potential 25,000 visitors – something which they would have been unable to achieve at Faskally Wood.

Derek Allan, chair of The Enchanted Forest commented, “We are very excited about this year’s event. Our customers expect us to deliver something new and exciting. The Explorers Woodland Garden is a fine woodland area with a network of paths and very interesting features that is simply steeped in Perthshire Big Tree Country history. This versatile setting offers our creative team, who achieved record results with last year’s show, a new and quite innovative canvas upon which they can continue to develop the wow factor our customers love about The Enchanted Forest.”

The 2011 event is, perhaps fittingly, entitled “Transitions” and is one of the key events in Scotland’s Autumnal tourism calendar.

Richard Pinn, VisitScotland Regional Director said: “We welcome the news that The Enchanted Forest is to be extended this year as it gives more people than ever before the chance to go along and experience what is one of Scotland’s most magical events, particularly since bringing it forward also aligns it with the school holidays.”

“The Enchanted Forest is already very popular and important to the Perthshire area, so much so that it was one of the many iconic elements chosen to feature in VisitScotland’s new “Surprise Yourself” campaign. Events are hugely important to the future growth of the tourism industry in Scotland and it is great to see this investment in and development of The Enchanted Forest” he concluded.

Paul McLennan, from Perthshire Big Tree Country commented, “The Explorers Garden is a prime Perthshire Big Tree Country location which highlights the heroic impact of the local Plant Hunters whose introductions helped shape this stunning landscape. The Community Interest Company’s management of the event last year was a huge success and we are confident in their abilities to deliver a show at the very high standards expected of them, in a location that is, in itself, a perfect setting.”