New Focus Years programme announced

First Minister Alex Salmond has today announced a new programme of Focus Years to celebrate the very best of Scotland and its people.

Today’s announcement will enhance the successful programme, launched as a legacy after the Year of Homecoming 2009, which spanned food and drink, active, creative, natural and ancestral themes. Focus Years aim to support and drive Scotland’s tourism and events industries to both domestic and international markets.

The new Focus Years programme include:

• 2015 – Year of Scotland’s Food and Drink

• 2016 – Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

• 2017 – Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

• 2018 – Year of Young People

Announcing the new Focus Year’s programme during Scotland’s Food and Drink Fortnight, First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Scotland’s incredible influence on the world has encouraged invention, inspired creativity and fired the imagination of generations. From our first Year of Homecoming in 2009 to our current Year of Natural Scotland, Scottish businesses have come together to promote our most valuable and celebrated assets.

“Such has been the success of our introductory themed years that I am today announcing the next programme which will kick off in 2015 with the Year of Scotland’s Food and Drink.

“During Scotland’s last Year of Food & Drink in 2010, the International Culinary Tourism Association described Scotland as one of the most 'unique, memorable and interesting places' for food and drink on the planet. And the facts speak for themselves: only today we announced the industry has reached historic sales levels, with a turnover of £13.5 billion.

“Scotland prepares to welcome the world during our second Year of Homecoming in 2014. Next year, Scots and Scots at heart will celebrate our great country with friends and family and enjoy the huge programme of events, including two of the largest sporting events on the planet – the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games.”

Mike Cantlay Chairman of Visit Scotland said: “The previous focus years have been a tremendous success, galvanising all sectors within the tourism industry promoting partnership year after year.  Globally, tourism continues to face challenges with competing countries noticing a decline in numbers and spend.  Themed years give Scottish tourism an edge, and early figures from this summer suggest using this year’s theme ‘Natural’ has provided a magnificent platform to sell Scotland on the world stage. 

“The coming focus years will look to harness this already successful relationship by looking to promote exciting areas of growth within the industry. History will be made with the opening of one of the world’s most exciting new cultural attractions, the V&A in Dundee, and a brand new crossing to complement the world famous bridges across the Forth.

“When you couple this with visitors from across the globe keen to learn more about the country’s fabulous food and drink, history, architecture and heritage, the next focus years are set to be some of the most exciting and inspirational yet.”

James Withers CEO of Scotland Food & Drink said: “We know 2014, the Year of Homecoming, will be an incredible year for Scotland’s food and drink sector, with huge efforts going into showcasing Scotland’s natural larder.

“Today’s new industry figures are a tremendous result and are a product of ambition and partnership. The news that we can now maintain this momentum through 2015 is very exciting. 

“Sustaining this ambition means both building further business domestically and, crucially, transforming our export activity and breaking into new markets. There remains a huge untapped potential for our food and drink sector to strengthen its position in Scotland’s tourism offering, in 2015 and beyond.”


2015 – Year of Scotland’s Food and Drink

A year themed around food and drink delivered in 2010/11 was a significant success, attracting over 500,000 visitors from home and abroad. Food and drink is recognised as an important part of our cultural identity and heritage and is recognised within the tourism industry’s strategy, Tourism Scotland 2020.

2016 – Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

This year will encapsulate Scotland’s heritage and modern attributes in relation to architecture, engineering, renewables, fashion, textiles, science, technology and more. This theme will also embrace the centenary celebrations planned by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), which raises awareness of the importance of good environmental design to people’s everyday lives. 

2017 – Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

A year that celebrates Scotland’s historic environment and past. With local, national and international reach, archaeological sites and visitor attractions are an important part of Scotland’s ancestral tourism product, both for Scots and visitors alike.

2018 – Scotland’s Year of Young People

This year will see an exciting programme of educational and cultural events centred on another of Scotland’s great assets, our young people. Opportunities will also be identified to build youth elements into the programmes of Focus Year activity in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The first Focus Years programme included:

• 2009 – Scotland’s Year of Homecoming

• 2010 – Year of Food and Drink

• 2011 – Year of Active Scotland

• 2012 – Year of Creative Scotland

• 2013 – Year of Natural Scotland

• 2014 – Year of Homecoming 2014

Food and Drink Fortnight is a celebration of food and drink and the wonderful efforts of food producers the length and breadth of this country.

For more information on the latest industry stats see:

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