The new year was only days old when Scottish tourism chief Mike Cantlay visited the Kingdom - stressing the importance of Fife to Scotland.
2015 is Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink and tourist bodies across the country are focussing their attention on Scotland’s produce as never before.
And as the Open returns to St Andrews the eyes of the world will once again be on this corner of Scotland.
And north-east Fife has much to offer, Mr Cantlay stressed.
He was speaking at the new Kingsbarns Distillery and Visitor Centre, in his role as chairman of VisitScotland, the country’s national tourism organisation. He is currently discussing the Year of Food and Drink with businesses of all sorts across the country.
He’s a fan of Fife, and wants to help spread the message far and wide: “The sea food, the fruit and veg, the meat, venison, etc, etc - is absolutely world class, fantastic,” he said, “and if there is any one person in Scotland, let alone Fife, who doesn’t fully appreciate that this is the year we sort it!”
That’s part of the key to VisitScotland’s strategy for the Year of Food and Drink - it’s not just about international visitors, it’s about getting the message about how great Scotland’s food and drink offering is to the Scots themselves.
He recounted being told over the holiday period by people he met in shops and filling stations that 2014 had been a great year for Scotland, but he’s very aware that 2015 is another year.
“Last year the objective was not just to have one huge year it was to create sustained prosperity into the second part of the decade and to do that the Year of Food and Drink is a perfect theme,” he said. “The job now is to make sure Scotland is ready to make the most of that so that the party goes on.”
Mr Cantlay is enthusiastic about Fife: “The food and drink and events industry in Fife is very well co-ordinated and do a fantastic job. There’s some great activity going on.
“What I am hoping we see through the year isn’t just that we are swamped with visitors having a great time but also that the people of Fife and of Scotland come to understand just what a fabulous offering in terms of food and drink we have in Fife.
“With the Open, Fife will be pretty much in the eye of the whole world and I think it is a great opportunity to exploit and we will exploit it,” he promised.
His own favourite food from Fife? “Lobsters – I love the sea food, it’s amazing, sensational.”