The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Scottish produce could help tourism industry increase sales by £94million

Tourism businesses could increase sales in Scotland by up to £94million simply by making the most of Scotland’s world class food offering, according to a new guide.

“Food & Drink Experience in Scotland” challenges tourism businesses – from restaurants to local tourist attractions and guest houses – to raise their game by serving up fresh, quality, local produce to improve the food and drink experience they offer visitors.

[Pictured: Enterprise Minister Jim Mather with chef Suzanne O’Connor (sitting) and waitress Sochi Green from The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant in the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh at the launch of the Food & Drink Experience in Scotland Guide.]

Research suggests that people would be happy to spend an average 7% more on food and drink when they visit businesses with an authentic Scottish food offering based on quality local produce. This would be a real boost to the £800million each year overnight visitors currently spend on food and drink when they visit Scotland, second only to spend on accommodation.

The new guide has been produced by Tourism Intelligence Scotland, a joint venture developed by Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and VisitScotland, and is packed with information and tips on how to tap into this potential spend by giving visitors the best culinary experience possible.

Speaking at the launch of the guide, Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said: “Scotland is a world-class culinary destination – as recognised by the International Culinary Tourism Association in its first ever worldwide study, which declared Scotland one of the most ‘unique, memorable and interesting places’ for food and drink on the planet.

“Through the Year of Food and Drink, Scotland is working to promote and celebrate our reputation as a Land of Food and Drink so that more people, both at home and visiting Scotland, are aware of, and have opportunities to enjoy, our delicious produce.

“Our cafes, hotels, restaurants and pubs have a key role to play in delivering a story about the provenance and authenticity of our food and drink - especially to those who visit Scotland as a destination of choice. The new guide will help to ensure the overall customer experience is as excellent as the authentic produce for which Scotland is world-renowned.”

The guide suggests that by introducing Scottish food and drink to menus and promoting its provenance, businesses have an opportunity to attract a greater number of higher-spending and longer-staying visitors, increase recommendations and provide valuable support for local businesses and the local economy.

It offers particular advice to businesses such as visitor attractions, as research has found that tourists spend more time and money during a visit when they are offered authentic local food in its restaurant or café.

Scottish Enterprise tourism product manager Katrina Morrison said: “Two-thirds of visitors think that quality of food is an important factor when deciding where to go on holiday, and three out of four think that eating local cuisine could enhance their visit. By offering quality, regional food on our menus, we can satisfy our visitors’ desire for an authentic Scottish experience and at the same time make more money.”

A complementary guide “At Your Service – A Practical Guide to Delivering the Best Food and Drink Experience in Scotland” has also been developed by Scottish Enterprise in partnership with Tourism Intelligence Scotland. It contains information for front line staff in tourism businesses and gives them easy reference facts about different food types, a visual calendar of seasonality, background information on classic Scottish dishes and drinks, and hints and tips on how to ‘up-sell’ to customers.

Welcoming the guides, renowned Scottish chef Andrew Fairlie said: “These guides are a fantastic resource for all tourism businesses to help them to improve and develop the culinary experience we offer in Scotland. We have an exceptional natural larder on our doorstep, and we know that our fresh produce and unique Scottish dishes are highly anticipated by our visitors as an integral part of their tourism experience. It is up to us to use Scotland’s natural larder in our cooking – working collaboratively with suppliers, food producers and other local businesses to ensure that we protect the sustainability of our beautiful country and offer the very best food and drink experience at our tables.”

“Food & Drink Experience in Scotland” and “At Your Service” are available free to Scottish Tourism businesses who register at which provides a wealth of helpful insights and tips for businesses.

The launch of the guides is the latest initiative from Tourism Intelligence Scotland (TIS), a joint venture developed by Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and VisitScotland, in partnership with the tourism industry, to stimulate growth and innovation in tourism. TIS has recently entered an exciting phase of growth enabling it to provide an enhanced range of market intelligence resources for tourism businesses. These resources, which include the regular ‘Ear to the Ground’ newsletter, information on news and events, plus access to the latest research and intelligence, are free to businesses that register their details with TIS.

The guide is part of the “Opportunities for Growth” series, aimed at helping tourism companies make the most of new and emerging opportunities in the sector.

Other guides in the “Opportunities for Growth” series include: Knowing Our Markets…Scotland’s Visitors; Scottish Tourism in the Future; Walking Tourism; Listening to our Visitors; Golf Tourism; and Adventure Travel in Scotland.

Scottish Enterprise is also providing through the Experiencing Scotland project, specialist food service advice and support to tourism businesses across Scotland. This will help create marketing opportunities for businesses across the supply chain, as well as increasing the use of local, fresh and seasonal produce at Scottish visitor destinations.

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland's main economic development agency and aims to deliver a significant, lasting effect on the Scottish economy. Our role is to help identify and exploit the best opportunities for economic growth. We support ambitious Scottish companies to compete within the global marketplace and help build Scotland’s globally competitive sectors. We also work with a range of partners in the public and private sectors to attract new investment to Scotland and to help create a world-class business environment.

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