Prize guys celebrate in style

Six German competition winners are kick starting their Scottish holiday experience in Dumfries.

Annette Dudek and Matthias Muller from Bergisch Gladbach, near Cologne, are one of three couples who have won a competition to take a trip around Scotland with all beginning their stay at the Aston Hotel in Dumfries.

An online competition was created by German ferry operator DFDS, in partnership with the national tourism organisation VisitScotland, and ran between mid-July and the end of the August. The six German couples were among nearly 400 entrants who were encouraged to plan their ideal trip around Scotland and describe what attracted them to the country with the online community voting for the itinerary they thought the best.

VisitScotland marketed the competition using social media channels and also promoted to their extensive database of German consumers.

Once on the road the couples are tasked with writing a daily blog about their trip, posting pictures of their destinations and describing what they experience. They will also offer a “tip of the day” to others online and tag locations they visit, offering a truly authentic experience of their time in Dumfries and Galloway and beyond.

Matthias and Annette, who celebrated her 22nd birthday at the Aston Hotel on Monday, September 24, have a particular love of nature and motorbike touring which proved popular back in their home country when they achieved the largest number of votes for their ideal trip itinerary in Scotland. They are the second couple of three to come to Scotland, courtesy of the special promotion.

Annette was given a surprise treat during her stay when VisitScotland organised Gretna Green piper Craig Irving to play Happy Birthday while hotel staff presented Annette, along with other morning diners, a complimentary bucks fizz to help celebrate her birthday.

Paula McDonald, regional director of VisitScotland, said: “Germany is our biggest international market and our European touring campaign has proved more and more successful year on year. Dumfries and Galloway is the perfect place to gain a truly Scottish experience and Annette and Matthias have a particular love of nature and motorbike touring so in the run up to the Year of Natural Scotland they’ve certainly picked the best place to begin their Scottish adventure!”

Shonagh Wright, sales manager of the Aston Hotel, added: “We are delighted to be involved in hosting the German competition winners and to be working in partnership with DFDS and VisitScotland. We hope all our competition winners will have a memorable experience staying at the Aston Hotel and look forward to reading their blogs about the region.”

To view the daily blog updates from the competition winners you can log onto: