Cultural and sporting events are now worth almost £500 million to the nation’s economy, even before the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games are held in Scotland.
VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead revealed the figures as he claimed there was vast potential to boost the figure in future years if the country was ambitious enough.
But he warned there was a real need to boost infrastructure and transport links, as well as deal with the impact of climate change, saying Scotland had to look at the creation of a few covered arena such as the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
The National Events Conference in Glasgow yesterday was heralded the countdown to 2014 when Scotland will host the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup, as well as stage the second Year of Homecoming.
These extra events mean 2014 – which is also the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn – will see an additional £300 million being ploughed into the economy.
The head of government agency EventScotland said Scotland’s record of capturing events was the envy of the world, but warned against complacency and the danger of anyone “sitting on their hands” until the end of 2014.
Paul Bush, who is in charge of the agency, which celebrates its 10th anniversary next year, added: “There can’t be any excuse for standing still in this exciting period.
“If we do that, then we are at risk of being left behind.”
Events and festivals are said to be worth £412m with attendance at sports events worth another £70m and participation in sports worth a further £70 million.
But Mr Roughead said: “Culture is catching up with the landscape as one of the main reasons to come to Scotland on holiday. We are never going to be a sunshine beach destination, but we can appeal to other markets.”