Scotland attempts to woo back US tourists

17 October 2006
Scotland attempts to woo back US tourists

Scotland's First Minister Jack McConnell has unveiled plans to boost US visitor numbers to the country to half a million in five years.

Speaking during a visit to the US, McConnell said America was the most important overseas tourism market for Scotland, despite tourist numbers falling 15% in 2005 after the terror attacks in London.

McConnell said improved marketing was needed to offset the decline and set out a seven point plan to improve Scottish links with US businesses, students, workers and tourists in seven states - California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina and Texas.

He said: "I want to make sure Scotland is getting the most out of this relationship - to take it to a new level. This is a hard-edged strategy, not some warm words or loose language with a nice cover. We need to maximise gains from our engagement with USA."

The strategy also seeks to improve awareness and perception of Scotland, as a place to do business in.

VisitScotland spends £1 million on marketing itself in the US annually. It expects the US to generate around £250m a year in tourist income for Scotland by 2010.

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Scottish executive unveils 10-year tourism strategy >>

By Emily Manson

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