Scotland’s food and drink tourism industry is worth an estimated £2.5 million[i] per day to the economy, it has been revealed today (12 Nov).
Speaking at the launch of the Year of Food and Drink, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment Richard Lochhead revealed that the year-long celebration of Scotland’s natural larder is set to build upon momentum generated in 2014, increase and promote Scottish produce across the tourism sector and enhance Scotland’s global reputation as a Land of Food and Drink.
The year is being supported with activity by VisitScotland including; a new TV advert which will be shown across the UK throughout 2015, a bespoke logo, an event fund, a dedicated Year of Food and Drink Growth Fund, social media activity, industry engagement and international marketing, which will focus on connecting ‘plate to place’ - linking the country’s food and drink with brilliant moments around Scotland.
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, seafood from North Berwick and entertainment from the Speyside Whisky Festival.
Over 200 tourism and food and drink businesses will attend today’s launch at the BT Murrayfield Stadium to hear more on how they can make the most of the opportunity 2015 presents. While this weekend Scotland welcomes the nation’s newest distillery as the first cask is filled with single malt Scotch whisky again produced at Annandale Distillery following a 95 year old sleep in the south west of Scotland.
Starting on the January 1 and running until the end of December 2015, there will be ample to whet the appetite of visitors including a packed programme of food-focused events, and a series of monthly themes for industry highlighting key food and drink sectors such as seafood, whisky and soft fruits.
Worth almost £14bn, the food and drink industry in Scotland employs 360,000 people. The Year of Food and Drink will raise awareness of Scotland’s restaurants, hotels, food and drink producers, B&Bs, cafes and visitor attractions.
With eating traditional dishes and local produce listed as the second top activity undertaken by visitors to Scotland, promoting food and drink has the potential to provide significant growth for tourism. Indeed, visitors are willing to pay up to 15% more for food that is of Scottish or regional origin.
Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Food, Richard Lochhead, said “Scotland’s food and drink is world-renowned for its exceptional quality and unrivalled provenance, and so it comes as no surprise that it is already a big draw for visitors. My ambition for Scotland as a Good Food Nation is for us all to make the most of our outstanding natural larder, which has a turnover of almost £14 billion. The Year of Food and Drink is a fantastic opportunity to show off at home and abroad the delicious local produce we have right on our doorstep and to build on the already phenomenal success of our food and drink sector.”
Fergus Ewing, Tourism Minister, 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 per cent 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.”
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, added: “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 appetizing, 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.”
Scotland Food & Drink Chief Executive, James Withers commented: "Food and drink is now one of the nation's greatest success stories and the Year of Food and Drink couldn’t come at a better time. Scotland’s reputation for world class produce is advancing across the globe as well as at home and we can now keep the momentum up through 2015, following all the efforts to showcase it this year.
“We are blessed with a fantastic, diverse larder with food and drink businesses that are over a century old working alongside a new generation of start-ups. Collectively they are what make us a Land of Food and Drink and what have driven our sector to being the top performer in Scotland’s economy over recent years. But, critically, success for the food and drink sector means success for our tourism businesses too. Next year is the perfect platform for both these sectors to work together and make fresh strides forward.”
For more information go to visitscotland.com