The Scottish Government is continually developing its marketing strategy to increase awareness of cultural activities, including the Edinburgh festivals. Alongside that, we have invested £750,000 over three years through the Edinburgh festivals expo fund for the strategic promotion of the festivals and their programmes.
That has also supported the delivery of a joint festivals marketing plan.
I mentioned earlier that I have taken the opportunity to promote the Edinburgh festivals during my visits to Brussels. I was also involved in an event on 11 August with Festivals Edinburgh that brought together the consular corps and key policy officials from across Scotland. The event offered a platform to set out the Scottish Government's overarching vision for culture, with a focus on building activity, excitement and connections as we look towards inspiring and enthusing others to engage with the opportunities that are presented by the Olympic games in 2012 and the Commonwealth games in 2014.
That is an important point. Indeed, at the event in the summer that we held for the consular corps with Festivals Edinburgh, the Italians in particular talked about using their cultural institute to promote the cultural opportunities that we have on offer with the festivals. I was delighted to open the "Scotland and Rome" exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy this week with the Italian consulate general, celebrating some of the wonderful archives and paintings that we have. I recommend the exhibition at the RSA to those who have not seen it.
Not only do we have to promote the festivals while they are on but our cultural institutes are important in the lead-up to them, working on cross-opportunities with other countries both to promote the best talent that we have and, importantly, to showcase the best talent from around the world. The festivals are a platform in which the media opportunities are immense for getting people from around the world to recognise the talents that we have.