The contribution of major initiatives to boosting tourism in Scotland, including the film Brave, Homecoming 2014, the Ryder Cup and Glasgow 2014 will be probed by the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee next week.
Convener of the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee Murdo Fraser MSP said:
“Scotland is to play host to several significant events over the coming years which will raise its profile on the world stage, whether this relates to golf, big budget Hollywood movies or international sport. But is Scotland maximizing these opportunities for promoting the country as a tourist destination?
“The Committee has already expressed concern that VisitScotland may fail to meet its ambitious growth target of increasing tourism revenue by 50 per cent by 2015.
“So we need answers about whether these big ticket events will actually boost Scottish tourism and in turn the Scottish economy. And if not, what more can be done to make sure Scotland doesn’t miss out.”
The focused inquiry into will also look into whether or not money spent on promoting Scotland’s profile at UK wide events such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics helped to boost tourism.
Organisations that will be questioned about the effectiveness of Visit Scotland’s ‘winning years’ strategy and its potential impact include:
- Gordon Arthur, Director of Communications and Marketing, Glasgow 2014;
- Stephen Leckie, Chair, Tourism Leadership Group;
- Andrew Dixon, Chief Executive, Creative Scotland;
- Willie Macleod, Executive Director, The British Hospitality Association;
- Professor John Lennon, Director of Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism, Glasgow Caledonian University;
- Dr Mike Cantlay, Chair, and Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive, VisitScotland
- Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism.
‘The Winning Years’ strategy is an opportunity for tourism businesses to maximise their promotional activity by focusing in on major events happening over the next few years. £30 million is being invested by VisitScotland to support the strategy. These include the Year of Creative Scotland, the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
This inquiry was launched following a report produced by the Committee in February, in which concern was expressed about the achievability of the 50 per cent growth target. The Scottish Government and the tourism industry have an “ambition” of increasing gross tourism revenues by 50 per cent (in real terms) by 2015, using the revenue figures for 2005 as the baseline. To address any uncertainty, the Committee has asked for yearly statements from Visit Scotland on progress towards meeting the target, as well as plans to address any shortfall in progress.
The Committee will take evidence from a wide range of organisations interested in this field over two committee meetings and starting at the Committee’s first meeting after recess on 5 September.