Scotland's village people aim to be the toast of Tartan Week
A NEW £1million weapon in the fight to boost Scotland’s tourism income was due to be unveiled by ministers today at the start of the annual Tartan Week celebrations in New York.
The Scottish Village - a purpose-built travelling pavilion featuring exhibitions and displays on holiday ideas and visitor attractions - will make its debut in Grand Central Station in a bid to persuade some of the half a million commuters who pass through the concourse every week that Scotland is "the best small country in the world".
The "village", to be launched by tourism minister Patricia Ferguson ahead of today’s annual Tartan Week parade up the city’s Sixth Avenue, will also be taken to events such as the G8 summit in Gleneagles.
It includes live Scottish cooking demonstrations, fashion shows and an onsite genealogist, accompanied by music from ceilidh bands the Peatbog Faeries and Shooglenifty.
This week’s celebrations in New York are set to be more muted than last year, when Jack McConnell attracted curiosity in the United States and ridicule at home when he attended the Dressed to Kilt fashion show in a modern pin-striped kilt.
Neither the First Minister nor any of the main party leaders are attending, blaming the proximity of a general election. Ms Ferguson is instead accompanied by finance minister Tom McCabe and health minister Andy Kerr who will take part in a Central Park fun run tomorrow morning to promote Scotland as a healthy, smoke-free visitor destination.
Tuesday’s Icons of Scotland dinner is rarely attended by celebrity award winners, but designers such as cashmere queen Belinda Robertson and kilt promoter Howie Nicholsby are among likely guests at Wednesday’s Dressed to Kilt event at the Copacabana Club.
The event will also be attended by rugby legend Scott Hastings, actor Brian Cox, singer Darius and chef Nick Nairn and will feature pieces by a range of Scottish designers including Edinburgh milliner Yvette Jelfs. Sir Sean Connery is expected at the celebrations, but his attendance had still to be confirmed last night.
Peter Lederer, chairman of VisitScotland, said: "The Scottish village is a fantastic showcase, the first of its kind in the world. It will give New Yorkers a taste of Scottish life and culture, and encourage them to see Scotland for themselves."
Ms Ferguson said: "This year’s Tartan Week programme is our most ambitious ever."
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