An estimated £16.7m is spent on food and drink every year by visitors from the UK staying overnight in Fife, new figures have revealed.
The economic boost comes as a 12-month celebration of Scotland’s natural larder was launched by Cabinet Secretary for rural affairs, food and the environment, Richard Lochhead.
The Year of Food and Drink 2015 will build upon momentum generated this year, increase and promote Scottish produce across the tourism sector and enhance Scotland’s global reputation.
It will be supported with activity by VisitScotland, including new TV adverts which will be shown across the UK, 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.
Starting on January 1 and running until the end of December, there will be plenty to whet the appetite of visitors, including a packed programme of food-focused events taking place throughout Scotland and a series of monthly themes for tourism businesses.
With trying local food ranked as the top activity undertaken by visitors to Fife, the region’s reputation for quality food and drink experiences is growing.
There are currently over 25 ‘Taste Our Best’ accredited businesses in Fife, including the famous Anstruther Fish Bar and Restaurant and the Fairmount in St Andrews.
Mr 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: ‘‘Food is an integral part of the tourism experience.
‘‘This year will showcase Scotland’s quality produce as well as raising the awareness of our restaurants, hotels and visitor attractions.”
Manuela Calchini, regional partnerships director of VisitScotland, added: “Sampling local food and drink is a big part of the visitor experience in Fife.
‘‘The region is home to award-winning fish and seafood, as well as a range of other fantastic produce.
“Visitors spend on average almost a fifth of their holiday budget on eating and drinking while in Scotland so promoting our natural larder is a recipe for success!
“We will, and indeed already are, working with businesses across the Kingdom to help equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to showcase their food and drink offering and attract more visitors in 2015 and beyond.”
For more details visit www.visitscotland.com