VisitScotland (Funding)

Part of Question Time — Scottish Executive — Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:00 pm on 11th November 2004.

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Photo of Patricia Ferguson Patricia Ferguson Labour 2:00 pm, 11th November 2004

The member will know that the route development fund is not administered from my portfolio. However, I am aware that during the past two years the number of direct routes into Scotland from other parts of the world has increased by 18.

VisitScotland's marketing campaign will be extended to include Northern Ireland and the midlands, as well as Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Holland, Italy and Belgium.

The member is right to regard quality assurance as vital and we are keen to strengthen that area. For that reason, we have given £3 million over this year and next year to strengthen VisitScotland's quality assurance schemes. Those schemes already reach about 80 per cent of the accommodation and visitor attraction market in Scotland and we have set a target of increasing that figure to 90 per cent over the next three years. The marketing of major events such as the under-21 rugby world cup, the Heineken cup and the mountain bike world cup is important to that effort. We also hugely value business tourism.