New plan to increase food and drink tourism

Release date: 19 September 2018

A new plan to develop food and drink tourism in Scotland will aim to deliver an additional £1 billion to Scotland’s economy by 2030.

The industry-led Food Tourism Scotland Action Plan, launched today by the industry and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on the Isle of Arran, sets out a range of actions to maximise the potential of two of Scotland’s most successful sectors - tourism and food and drink.

Visitors to Scotland already spend around £1 billion a year on food and drink. The action plan aims to unlock the growth potential and secure an extra £1 billion spend on local produce.

Measures in the plan include:

  • The creation of a food tourism apprenticeship programme
  • Supporting the top 100 visitor attractions to achieve ‘Taste Our Best’, the quality assurance accreditation scheme promoting local sourcing
  • Improved marketing for food and drink tourism
  • Creating the next generation of agri-tourism monitor farms to stimulate diversification
  • A further programme of Showcasing Scotland events – bringing regional buyers and suppliers together

The First Minister and Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing met Alastair Dobson of Taste of Arran – a champion of food tourism - during a visit to the Auchrannie Resort while on the island for a meeting of the Scottish Cabinet.

Making the announcement on the eve of National Food and Drink Fortnight, the First Minister said:

“Scotland is already renowned as the land of food and drink, with our quality produce known throughout the world. With around £1 billion being spent on food on drink by visitors each year, the economic benefits are clear.

“This action plan will bring together everyone in the food and tourism sectors to build on that success story.

“Many great things are already happening - here in Arran I’ve seen how quality local produce can attract visitors and enhance their experience of Scotland. Now is the time for everyone to work together to make sure that we can make the most of everything this growing sector has to offer.”

James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink said:

"Scottish food and drink is sold all over the world, from five-star hotels in Dubai to top bars in New York, but we want to ensure visitors in Scotland to have the same world-class eating and drinking experience. There are already many pockets of success but we want a new, nationwide approach to food tourism. Eating and drinking is one guaranteed activity that every visitor in Scotland will undertake. We know that a good, local food and drink experience is what visitors want, it drives spend in our tourism businesses and it supports local producers. Above all though, it builds Scotland food, drink and tourism reputation on the world stage.

“The hard work to make Scotland a global food tourism destination begins now. But with two powerhouse industries of tourism and food and drink working together alongside government, we will make it happen. There is a huge economic and reputational prize awaiting us if we get this right.”

Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said:

"Collaboration is the foundation of our national tourism strategy and the Scottish Tourism Alliance are delighted to be working in partnership with our friends and colleagues at Scotland Food & Drink to deliver this first Food Tourism Action Plan for Scotland. We are confident that as the overarching representative bodies of two of Scotland’s most economically important sectors, collectively, and with the right support and buy in from all in the public and private sector, we can lead and deliver the growth ambition of an extra £1 billion being spent by visitors on food and drink by 2030.

"We are totally committed to encouraging and supporting all food and drink related business, that are by the very nature of what they do 'Tourism Business', to get behind this shared ambition, to embrace the plan so that those who choose to visit, drink and dine out in our hotels, pubs, cafés, bars, restaurants or at any event can enjoy an even greater choice of local quality authentic food and drink experiences in destinations throughout Scotland delivered by skilled and passionate people.”

The Food Tourism Scotland Action Plan can be read in full here.