Fergus Ewing said 2014 promised to be a “momentous year in Scottish history”, which would reposition Scotland on the international stage and provide a huge boost to the tourism industry.
He predicted the legacy of the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup, the MTV Europe Music Awards and the Year of Homecoming campaign, which is being launched with the Hogmanay celebrations across the country, would be felt for years to come.
More than 90 per cent of tickets for the Commonwealth Games have already been snapped up while the Ryder Cup is effectively sold out already. The MTV awards and the Homecoming campaign are expected to deliver an additional £50 million of economic benefit over and above the sporting extravaganzas.
Mr Ewing said: “During 2014 we will see two of the world’s biggest showcase sporting events and one of the world’s biggest showcase music events coming to Scotland as well as our second Year of Homecoming. The momentous year in Scottish history will not only position us on the international stage as a dynamic and creative country, it will also significantly boost our already buoyant tourism sector.
“Every tourism event attracts a potential new business or leisure guest – and provides more jobs and investment. We are already seeing the benefit of this through the 30,000 jobs supported as a result of the Commonwealth Games.
“The legacy of the Games, the Ryder Cup, MTV and Homecoming will also be felt for years to come through the boost the events will give to the Scottish economy, through the local jobs created and through the improved infrastructure created. 2014 is a chance of a lifetime for everyone to play their part in extending the warmest welcome to guests from near and far.”