The Scottish Government fully recognises the importance of tourism to the economy and continues to see its benefits across the whole of Scotland. Only yesterday, I launched the new Forth bridges strategy, highlighting Fife’s role as a gateway to the north across the iconic Queensferry crossing.
The constituency of Cowdenbeath possesses its own unique attractions for visitors and locals alike. With VisitScotland, we will continue to work with local authorities, destination management organisations and businesses to ensure that each of Scotland’s destinations can offer exciting, enjoyable and high-quality experiences.
I very much welcome the launch of the new Forth bridges strategy. The cabinet secretary might be aware of another recently launched initiative—the new Fife pilgrim way, one of the starting points for which is in North Queensferry in my constituency and which passes through historic Inverkeithing and the scenic Lochore meadows country park. What plans does the Scottish Government have to promote this important tourist route, which winds through the heart of Fife, to ensure maximum benefit for local communities?
I am very keen that the Government should support the Fife pilgrim way, which has been planned for some time. VisitScotland is working closely with Fife Council and Fife Coast and Countryside Trust on the launch of the new route, from which all communities should benefit. Yesterday, I visited North Queensferry, which, as the member has pointed out, is one of the route’s starting points.
The Forth bridges tourism strategy offers a great opportunity. It is a 10-year plan to ensure that we can grow tourism by using the opportunity that is provided by the iconic three bridges. North Queensferry holds other attractions, including the Stevenson-built lighthouse, which I had the pleasure of lighting yesterday. I was delighted when the local volunteers who run it presented me with a certificate to demonstrate that I had passed a short introductory course in lighthouse keeping.