Sturgeon launches plan to reap Â£1 billion benefit of food tourism
Food and drink tourism could be worth an extra Â£1 billion to Scotland's economy by 2030, according to a new action plan.
The plan sets out actions to turn Scotland into an international leader in food tourism.
Visitors already spend almost £1 billion every year on food and drink, with the ambition to double that value by 2030.
A new national food tourism website and apprenticeship programme are among the measures set out in the plan.
Other actions include the expansion of VisitScotland’s Taste our Best quality assurance scheme and encouraging more agritourism such as farm stays, pick-your-own and farmers’ markets.
The plan was launched by industry leaders and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on the Isle of Arran, where the Scottish Cabinet is meeting.
Ms Sturgeon 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 and Drink, added: “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.
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.”