Increased investment in VisitScotland designed to capitalise on events including the staging of the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup is set to come under scrutiny by a Holyrood committee.
The Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee will launch an inquiry this September in an effort to establish whether an additional cash injection of £30million awarded to the tourism body can deliver a significant pay-off for Scotland over the next three years.
The announcement comes as the Holyrood committee renewed concerns over the achievability of Scottish Government targets to raise tourism revenues by 50 per cent by 2015, suggesting that progress had “stalled”.
VisitScotland, assisted by £30m of extra funding, started its promotional Winning Years Strategy earlier this year aimed at reaping extra revenues from eight major events spanning Scotland between 2012 and 2014.
Among them are the Year of Creative Scotland, Year of Homecoming in two years time and the release of Disney Pixar movie, Brave, which opens in Scotland in August following a premiere in California last week attended by First Minister Alex Salmond together with delegates from VisitScotland.
Murdo Fraser MSP, convener of the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, said: “Tourism is a massive income generator for the Scottish economy but it has become evident that recent progress to increase tourism revenue by 50 per cent by 2015 has stalled.
“Over the next three years Scotland is to play host to major events, including Glasgow 2014, the Ryder Cup and Homecoming 2014.
“To promote Scotland and capitalise on these events, VisitScotland has received a significant cash injection of £30 million. This focused inquiry will scrutinise this budget and determine how it is being spent and ensure it is bringing tangible benefits to Scotland. It is also important we learn lessons from the Gathering debacle.”
The inquiry follows on from a report published by the committee in February this year welcoming the initiative, albeit with the caveat that more detail on the strategy and its objectives was required to ensure it delivered tangible benefits.