by Alex Palmer | January 24, 2017
For incentive planners seeking a destination steeped in history and culture, Scotland has often landed toward the top of their must-visit lists. But 2017 might be a particularly good year for those planners to consider this country, as Visit Scotland has dubbed this "The Year of History, Heritage, and Archaeology."

That means the country will be showcasing its more than 450 museums and galleries, promoting cultural events such as the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival and Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, while preserving and refreshing some of its most famous landmarks.

One of Edinburgh's most prominent sights, The Church of St John the Evangelist, dating back to 1818, is set to undergo a $3.9 million addition and refurbishment. The University of Edinburgh's 19th-century McEwan Hall in Bristo Square is set to wrap up a major renovation in summer 2018, providing seating for up to 1,000 visitors in its tiered auditorium.

But as it celebrates and preserves the past, Scotland is also a destination with an eye on the future. Construction of the $6.5 million New Waverley development in Edinburgh's historic Old Town has begun, creating a new civic square covering the area between the Waverley railway station and the Royal Mile, with new hotels, shops, and business offices.

In the longer term, a huge, $900 million development in Edinburgh's St. James Quarter, which began construction last year, will be completing in 2020. Along with 139,000-square-feet of shopping space, it will also include a new aparthotel and theater. Additionally, the new center will include a 210-room W Hotel by Starwood Hotels & Resorts (with panoramic views of the city).

Beyond the bustling capital, a wealth of incentive-quality experiences beckon. In spring 2016, the boutique hotel Dakota Deluxe Glasgow opened in the Glasgow city center, with 83 luxuriously appointed bedrooms (including 11 suites). Last year also saw the opening of Gleddoch House Hotel & Golf Club, a prestigious hotel and spa resort set on 360 acres of countryside just outside Glasgow's city center. It offers 75 bedrooms and suites plus championship golf course and luxury spa.

Also not far from Glasgow is Crossbasket Castle, which reopened last spring following extensive renovations. It offers nine bedrooms, as well as unique event venues (including a library, drawing room, and dining room furnished with pieces dating back to the 14th century). In Scotland, even the most recent properties have centuries-old history.  

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This article appears in the January/February 2017 issue of Incentive.