Some of Scotland's top hotels are sending a trade mission to Russia in a bid to find new markets in the aftermath of 11 September.
Connoisseurs Scotland, made up of St Andrews Old Course hotel, Gleneagles, the Turnberry, the Sheraton Grand, One Devonshire Gardens, Inverlochy Castle, the Hebridean Princess, the Royal Scotsman train and Crinan hotel, is sending the trade mission and will host receptions and attend travel fairs. The idea is to supplement Scottish hotels' traditional foreign earnings of dollars with Russian roubles.
About 20,000 Russians visited Scotland in 1997, bringing an estimated £11m. Numbers fell when the rouble collapsed in 1998 but there is now an expectation that visitor numbers could rise again.
Among those going on the promotional visit will be Patrick Emslie, operations director of Gleneagles, Stuart Selby, general manager of the Sheraton Grand, and Eric Milligan, Edinburgh's Lord Provost.
The British Embassy in Moscow will hold a reception for the Russian travel industry and Russian travel writers are being invited to visit Scotland this summer to generate media coverage.
Emslie said: "This is not about replacing our American visitors. In fact those have held up and remain at around 22-25% of our total business. But the events of 11 September focused our minds on how dependent we are on the USA and the rest of the UK.
"We probably have too great a dependence on those markets and we have decided to look elsewhere for newer markets."