Representatives of tourist businesses in the Scottish Borders gathered in Kelso recently to discuss the future of culinary tourism in the area.
One of the key themes of the event, hosted by VisitScotland in partnership with Scottish Borders Council and the Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership, was the 2015 Year of Food and Drink. This celebration of Scotland’s natural larder aims to promote Scottish produce and enhance the country’s global reputation as a Land of Food and Drink.
VisitScotland Chairman Mike Cantlay spoke on how 2014 has acted as a launchpad for Scottish tourism’s development, thanks to high-profile events such as the Commonwealth Games, The Ryder Cup, and the year-long Homecoming Scotland programme.
He highlighted how The Year of Food and Drink has been designed to build on the industry momentum generated during 2014 and further boost business.
VisitScotland’s support will include a new TV ad, bespoke logo, event and marketing activity funding, social media activity, industry engagement and international marketing.
The national tourism organisation will promote the ‘plate to place’ concept - linking the country’s rich food and drink offerings with opportunities for visitors from near and far to experience and enjoy brilliant moments around Scotland.
Dr Cantlay’s keynote address was followed by informative speeches from John Henderson of Born in The Borders and The Scottish Borders Brewery, and Kerry Waddell of Giacopazzi’s and Kirk Square Kitchen.
Based on their experiences of developing businesses and events, both provided delegates with insight, advice and inspiration on how to capitalise on the Year of Food and Drink’s potential benefits.
Summing up, Councillor Stuart Bell of Scottish Borders Council said: “It is great that so many local businesses have a real appetite for making the most of the opportunities for growth presented by the Borders Railway as well as The Year of Food and Drink, and are keen to know more about how they can get a share of the great potential economic benefits both present.”