A new programme which will place food tourism at the heart of the recovery of Scotland’s tourism and food and drink sectors has been launched this week by Scotland Food & Drink and the Scottish Tourism Alliance with the appointment of 25 Regional Food Tourism Ambassadors, each of whom will play a key part in raising Scotland’s profile as a global food tourism destination.
The programme was officially launched by Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands who paid tribute to the resilience and determination of Scotland’s food and tourism sectors in finding new and innovative ways in capitalising on the pride and passion that exist within the sectors to drive recovery and put every region in Scotland on the map as offering a unique, distinct and vibrant food tourism experience.
Held at Bonnie & Wild’s Scottish Marketplace, the official launch was Scotland’s tourism industry’s first event since March 2020 and provided a much-awaited opportunity for reconnection and for the industry to meet the new ambassadors.
Gary MacLean, award-winning chef, delighted guest with a special cooking demonstration of hand-dived scallops with Stornoway Black Pudding, accompanied by Ayrshire potatoes and green apple.
The ambassador programme will play a key part in delivering some of the strategic aims and ambitions in Scotland’s Food Tourism Action Plan, launched in 2018 and supported by Scottish Government, and will stimulate entrepreneurial activities and change as both sectors move through the pandemic towards recovery.
The ambassadors themselves will provide a much-needed boost to their regions during what has been an acutely challenging time for Scotland’s food and drink and tourism sectors and bring producers, suppliers and hospitality businesses much closer together to grow local economies
Bringing Scotland’s destinations and food and drink to life through storytelling will be central to the role of the ambassadors in the lead up to Scotland’s ‘Year of Stories’ themed year for 2022, with each of them shining a light on our regions as food destinations of choice, with their own unique provenance, people and stories which in turn create the quality, authentic food and destination experience which today’s visitors are looking for.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “I am delighted that Scotland’s food and drink ambassadors have been appointed.
“They will play a key role in supporting food tourism to become a sustainable and important contributor to local economies.
“The 25 ambassadors, who all work in and share a passion for the industry, puts every region in Scotland on the map, showcasing to visitors and tourists alike the exceptional and varied food tourism experiences available across the country.
“Their work and expertise, against the backdrop of major challenges to the sector from Brexit and the pandemic, will raise Scotland's profile as a food tourism destination and help rebuild our food, hospitality and tourism industry.”
Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food, Scotland Food & Drink said:
“The Regional Food Tourism Ambassadors are a shining example of excellence across the food, drink, hospitality and tourism industries and we are incredibly proud to now have 25 Regional ambassadors who are bursting with talent, enthusiasm and a spirit of working together to bring the programme to life and drive recovery.
“From chefs and caterers, producers and independent retailers to agritourism operators, food writers, whisky experts and more, the Regional Food Tourism Ambassadors will champion every region across Scotland.
“Over the next two years they will be the face of food tourism, working with their local communities and regional food groups and using their voice to promote Scotland as a destination for fantastic food tourism experiences and we look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”
Craig Wilson, chef and owner of Eat on the Green restaurant in Udny Green says: “Scotland has an amazing food story to tell and it is a great honour to be selected as a Regional Food Tourism Ambassador.
“I am looking forward to playing my part in championing the world-class produce of my homeland and working together with people who share my passion and ethos for food. This is a hugely significant initiative in driving forward our recovery from the pandemic, whilst focusing on the excellent ingredients, local food producers that makes Scotland truly special.”
To find out more about the Regional Food Tourism Ambassadors please visit: https://foodanddrink.scot/regional-food-growth/food-tourism-ambassadors-2021/