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Tourism (Jura)

Question Time — Scottish Executive — Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:00 pm on 16th September 2004.

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Photo of Colin Fox Colin Fox SSP 2:00 pm, 16th September 2004

To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has considered the tourist potential of Jura as the location where George Orwell wrote "Nineteen Eighty-Four". (S2O-3158)

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour

I always found George Orwell's book to be an interesting examination of totalitarianism and absolutism in politics. I am sure that, as he is a libertarian socialist like me, Colin Fox shares my view.

The Argyll, the Isles, Loch Lomond, Stirling and Trossachs tourist board—which is a mouthful in itself—is responsible for the promotion of Jura. The board recognises the significance of George Orwell's connection to the island of Jura and its value to tourism in the area. In addition to marketing activities that are being undertaken by Jura's marketing group, Orwell will feature significantly in the proposed Jura discovery centre. Its website, which is under development, will include a section on famous people with a link to the island, including Orwell.

Photo of Colin Fox Colin Fox SSP

Having trekked to the Barnhill site on Jura, I know how difficult it is to visit it, so I welcome the minister's answer. I hope that he will take the opportunity to press VisitScotland on its plans to tap into what I believe is an enormous potential for cultural tourism connected to sites in Scotland. I am thinking not only of Orwell in Jura but the Grassic Gibbon Centre in Kincardine and so on. Will he press with VisitScotland the case not just for Orwell, but for Lewis Grassic Gibbon and others?

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour

I thank the member for that contribution. In the past couple of months, I visited the Grassic Gibbon Centre in Kincardineshire, which is a positive development. Any way in which we can maximise the contribution that writers, intellectuals and creators have made to our understanding of society would be beneficial. That is why, as well as supporting Jura, we are committed to exploring the option of world city of literature being awarded to Edinburgh through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and will press the case over the coming period. I acknowledge the contribution that such individuals and writers can make to our understanding of a place and its people.