Backing the iconic tastes of Scotland

Backing the iconic tastes of Scotland

Minister for Business and Tourism Fergus Ewing explains why the Scottish Government has set up a £100,000 event fund to boost local tourism economies

There is plenty to whet the appetite of visitors to Scotland this year, including a packed programme of food-focused events, and a series of monthly themes for the industry highlighting key food and drink sectors such as seafood, whisky and soft fruits.

The Year of Food and Drink will build on the success of the previous themed years and Homecoming, plus the excellent reputation of our food and drink industry, raising awareness of Scotland’s restaurants, hotels, food producers, B&Bs and visitor attractions.

Food and drink plays a massive role within the tourism sector in Scotland. In fact, according to VisitScotland data the value of Scotland’s food and drink tourism industry is worth an estimated £2.5 million per day to the economy. Visitors are demanding and getting a quality food and drink experience with authentic, iconic and seasonal culinary experiences.

This opportunity is highlighted by VisitScotland figures which show that visitors to Scotland spend, on average, 21 per cent of their holiday budget on eating and drinking. The Year of Food and Drink will raise awareness of Scotland’s restaurants, hotels, food and drink producers, B&Bs, cafes and visitor attractions. With eating traditional dishes and local produce listed as the second top activity undertaken by visitors to Scotland, promoting food and drink has the potential to provide significant growth for tourism. All this presents significant opportunities for Scottish businesses both big and small.

The Scottish Government have established an events fund for 2015 which is already being channelled through EventScotland and VisitScotland. This fund will help boost the use of local produce at the many events taking place throughout 2015.  We all look forward to a range of events across the whole of Scotland taking place from 1 July 2015 until Hogmanay 2015.

In addition, a VisitScotland Growth Fund of £100,000 has been disbursed to destination organisations and industry groups who have come up with inspiring marketing projects which showcase Scotland’s natural larder and support the growth of tourism spend in every corner of the country. There is much to look forward to in the coming months - and many ways to welcome our visitors.