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by Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland
14 February 2023
Associate Feature: Spotlight on our tourism  and events industry

Corrie Fee Cycling - credit VisitScotland Luigi Di Pasquale

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Associate Feature: Spotlight on our tourism and events industry

The past year has been another difficult one for all those involved in tourism and events in Scotland. While the threat of COVID-19 didn’t loom as large, a series of new challenges hindered the recovery of our valuable industry. The cost of doing business and the cost of living have dominated headlines and put pressure on the fragile recovery period. As an industry, we have faced an onslaught of challenges and yet continued with professionalism and determination. 

The country is adjusting and adapting to new financial circumstances that will impact both personal and professional wealth. We’ve already seen some tourism and events businesses making difficult decisions due to the tough economic climate.

During these challenging times, we’ll continue to do all we can to grow the industry sustainably, whether that’s bringing visitors to Scotland or creating opportunities for investment. We know that the regulatory landscape is changing and throughout this, we’ll keep supporting businesses to help them navigate new legislation. That means offering support and guidance while continuing to work closely with Scottish Government.

We will continue to align with the pillars of the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET). Tourism and events can play a pivotal role in Scotland’s transition to a wellbeing economy. 

Businesses in the sector already make strong contributions toward Scotland becoming a world-class entrepreneurial nation. Tourism is vitally important to the economy of so many Scottish regions. Through the return of the Scottish Thistle Awards, we are recognising those businesses and individuals that are the leading lights in our industry. 

I’m thrilled that last week we hosted the first national final since the pandemic, celebrating innovation, collaboration, and sustainable practices. Now more than ever, the Scottish Thistle Awards showcase tourism as a force for good, shining the spotlight on the very best of Scotland’s tourism industry and some of its most successful entrepreneurs.

There is also good work taking place in relation to net zero. Through the industry Destination Net Zero programme, and wider sustainability work, we will look to help make it easier for businesses to incorporate sustainability practices into their offering through detailed advice and insight. 

Through the Industry Leadership Group, there is renewed focus on the national tourism strategy, Scotland Outlook 2030. The group aims to grow the value and enhance the benefits of tourism across Scotland while delivering the very best for visitors, businesses, and communities.  

While there will undoubtedly be challenges to come this year, there is still much to look forward to, including Scotland hosting the world’s biggest cycling event ever. The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow and across Scotland will bring together 13 existing UCI World Championships together for the first time. It represents an exciting opportunity for the event and beyond, to grow cycling tourism in Scotland and encourage more people to consider cycling as an activity, in turn boosting the nation’s health and wellbeing.  

We are in a fortunate position in tourism and events. Our businesses and destinations often shape and influence many of the experiences that make people happy, the holidays and shared memories with friends and family. Tourism is also an economic powerhouse. Working collaboratively with industry, Government and elected members, we need to find a way through the difficult times that lie ahead, so our sector can thrive into the future.


This article is sponsored by Visit Scotland.

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Read the most recent article written by Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland - Associate Feature: Tourism: on the right track.

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