The new food tourism Scotland action plan is a unique initiative that will allow our tourism, food and drink sectors to double from £1,000 million to £2,000 million the amount that visitors to Scotland spend annually on food and drink.
Several specific actions will support the plan, such as supporting our top 100 visitor attractions to get taste our best accreditation—VisitScotland’s quality assurance scheme on local sourcing—and working to get all our major events showcasing local food and drink. That work and much more will directly benefit our local food producers and manufacturers as we seek to make Scotland a good food nation.
The cabinet secretary will know the key role that is played by Scotland’s chefs in promoting food at home and abroad. As we mark the year of young people, will the cabinet secretary join me in wishing our culinary world cup team—the youngest team in a competition that involves more than 100 teams—the best of luck in Luxembourg later this month.
I am delighted to welcome the efforts of the Scottish culinary world cup team, who have carried out a great job in recent years in ensuring that our food is highly prized, presented and championed both at home and abroad. I wish Robbie Penman and his highly skilled young team every success in Luxembourg at the end of the month. I have no doubt that they will do a great job of further raising the profile of our fantastic produce and helping Scotland to meet its aspiration of becoming a global food tourism destination.
So far, the regional food fund that was established in the Scottish Government’s ambition 2030 strategy has awarded grants to 15 collaborative projects that are designed to promote local Scottish producers. What direct economic benefit have those grants had on local producers and tourism and are there any plans to expand the scheme further?
Those events and others have had significant benefit. We promote our food and drink at a national event in Gleneagles biannually; as a result of its success, I decided that a regional showcasing event should take place. We are having a variety of them, and the first have already taken place. An analysis of our estimates of the value of those products will be made in due course. Rachael Hamilton will appreciate—I know that she is experienced in the sector—that some benefits take time to come through. For a local producer who wins a contract with the supermarkets, such things take time to develop; business relationships take time to build up trust and to come through. The analysis cannot necessarily be produced in a few months after an event. However, the Gleneagles events have been spectacularly successful for the companies that were involved, and I will share what information I can—as I always do—as soon as possible.