Selling Scotland

Selling Scotland

Scotland must invest in 'early years' to climb success league

THE report makes a series of policy recommendations which it claims would help raise Scotland's "success league" position.

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Flight plan to help tourism take off

MICHAEL O’Leary, the boss of the budget airline Ryanair, is an unlikely saviour of Scottish tourism. The ebullient Irishman with more front than Ardrossan does not come across as one of life’s altruists. But there are some in the industry who hope that the brash new breed of airline entrepreneur can thrust Scotland’s tourism business into the 21st century.

Boutique hotels are winners

SMALL luxury hotels with individual character are beating the big chains and becoming one of the fastest-growing sectors of the tourist industry.

Tourist firms quit VisitScotland

TOURIST businesses disaffected with VisitScotland are relinquishing membership of the state agency to sign up to a new co-operative in a bid to boost trade. Up to 3,000 tourist operators in southern Scotland are understood to have expressed interest in joining the new co-operative, VisitSouthernScotland (VSS).

Doing everything to a T is Anne's formula for the Willow Tea Rooms

WHEN Anne Mulhern took over the Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street, created by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for Miss Kate Cranston at the turn of the 20th century, she faced a number of challenges which looked difficult to overcome.

Islanders plan to put Arran on the map

AS A seedbed of revolution, Arran lacks the most basic credentials. The island, 14 miles off the Ayrshire coast, is as peaceful as a Wordsworth poem.

The way ahead

THERE is no shortage of people who can point to the problems of our tourist industry. Providing solutions is another matter. The Scotsman asked Dr Terry Stevens, of Stevens & Associates, a specialist leisure and tourism consultancy, to advise what Scotland needs to do to regain a competitive edge. Here is his seven-point plan:

'We are at crunch time'

IF BONHOMIE was a pre- requisite for Scotland’s tourism minister, then the industry could not have landed a more apt character than Frank McAveety, who took over the job in May. As his advisers tap their watches, Mr McAveety chats cheerily about the Edinburgh Festival and the Duke of Buccleuch’s stolen da Vinci.

Saying 'no' is just not on

Dagmar Mühle, manager of the Caledonian Hilton, Edinburgh

Austrians learn how to clean up

TWO years ago, my family visited Austria at New Year for a skiing holiday. We booked the skiing late, then looked around for accommodation. My wife found a bed and breakfast in a small town about the size of Auchterarder. That was all there was available.

A money-spinner, but do the number add up?

IF TOURISM is Scotland’s most important industry, we are all shareholders. The government commits an annual £90 million-plus of our money to tourism-related agencies. VisitScotland says revenue from the industry was £4.5 billion last year. But are we getting value for money?

Making the most of natural resources

THERE isn’t much to North Queensland apart from wilderness. In a tiny six-seater plane, a group of British journalists and I circled the Great Barrier Reef and the salt-friendly mangrove swamps which fringe much of the coast, before flying over swathes of dense rainforest, across a range of mountains, through the centre of a circular rainbow and into the low scrubland of the outback.

From sublime to the ridiculous

PETER IRVINE, Unique Events and author of Scotland The Best

Most visitors feel ripped-off

MOST overseas visitors to Scotland remember the defining aspects of their holiday for years; the fabulous scenery, the friendliness of the people - and the rip-off prices.

Top chef criticises Scots 'dire' food

ONE of Scotland’s leading chefs has described the food on offer in the country as "dire".

On the menu - frozen fish, microwaved pies

ANDREW Fairlie has reason to be cheerful.

When there's no right time to ask for tea

ONE of the terms most frequently banded about in the tourism industry is "quality". Everyone agrees we need more of it but nobody is entirely sure what it is or how we get it. We all recognise the lack of it in sticky lino, bobbly sheets and tired looking bread rolls. But defining quality, particularly in the middle market, is like eliciting a promise from a government minister; it’s very hard to pin down.

Scottish Tourism: The 2002 facts

TWENTY million tourists visited Scotland, up 5 per cent on 2001 but still below 2000. They spent £4.5 billion and supported about 9 per cent of all employment. Just under 200,000 people are employed in tourism-related industries.

Ambition is key to unlock Scotland's real potential

BY 2020, tourists will have conquered every part of the globe, 1.6 billion of us will be international travellers and competition for pounds, euros, yen, and dollars will be intense.

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