SCOTLAND’S food and drink tourism sector is worth an estimated £2.5 million a day to the economy, industry chiefs have revealed.
VisitScotland highlighted the figure at the launch of the Year of Food and Drink, a 12-month celebration of Scottish produce.
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN
• Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning
The year-long event aims to promote Scotland’s food and drink across the tourism sector and enhance its reputation around the world.
With visitors spending around a fifth of their holiday budget on food, tourism chiefs hope to further increase the profile of Scottish delicacies such as haggis, seafood, whisky and shortbread.
The Year of Food and Drink aims to raise awareness of Scotland’s restaurants, hotels, food and drink producers, B&Bs, cafes and visitor attractions, and will feature a programme of food-focused events.
Tourism minister Fergus Ewing said: “The Year of Food and Drink will build upon the momentum generated during the Year of Homecoming 2014, further developing Scotland’s reputation as a first-class visitor destination.
“Food is an integral part of the tourism experience, with visitors spending on average 21% of their holiday budget on food.
“This year will showcase Scotland’s quality produce as well as raising the awareness of Scotland’s restaurants, hotels and visitor attractions.”
Worth almost £14 billion a year, the food and drink industry in Scotland employs 360,000 people.
VisitScotland is supporting the year-long celebration through activities such as a new TV advert which will be shown across the UK throughout 2015, a bespoke logo, social media activity, industry engagement and international marketing.
The new advert will feature iconic images of Scotland such as the Isle of Rum, Eilean Donan Castle and the Ring of Brodgar, as well as berry picking in Perthshire and seafood from North Berwick.
The year-long celebration will also feature a series of monthly themes for industry highlighting key food and drink sectors such as seafood, whisky and soft fruits.
VisitScotland said that promoting food and drink has the potential to provide significant growth for tourism, with visitors willing to pay up to 15% more for food that is of Scottish or regional origin.
Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, said: “2014 showed the world that Scotland was the perfect place to visit, with warm, welcoming people, a fantastic atmosphere and unmissable events.
“The Year of Food and Drink will see visitors far and wide come and sample our enticing natural larder and Scots enjoying the delicious cuisine that is right on their doorstep.
“Visitors spend a fifth of their holiday budget on eating and drinking, so promoting our natural larder is a recipe for success.
“Today’s launch is aimed at providing the tourism industry with plenty of food for thought so they can create appetising, engaging, fun and authentic dining experiences.
“After the major events of 2014, interest in Scotland is high but we can’t rest on our laurels, we must continue taking Scotland to the world, showcasing our strengths and positioning Scotland as the perfect place to visit and do business.”
The Year of Food and Drink starts on January 1 and runs until the end of December next year.
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND IPHONE APPS