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Friday, 5 April, 2002, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
Scots arts scene gets Tartan treatment
A model shows off the new, New York tartan
A model shows off the new, New York tartan
Scotland's arts scene is being celebrated in a series of events in New York which have been designed to attract tourists across the Atlantic.

Mike Watson, the tourism and culture minister, said Scotland's "impressive" cultural pedigree had the potential draw visitors from the US and worldwide.

The minister opened two seminars on Friday at the start of "Distilled: Live Scotland in New York".

First Minister Jack McConnell and SNP leader John Swinney are among the contingent of politicians who have flown out to take part in the Tartan Week celebrations.

Mike Watson
Mike Watson praised Scotland's culture

Mr Watson said: "The Distilled event showcases the very best of contemporary Scotland's thriving arts and cultural scene.

"Scotland is the cultural capital of the world for one month each year when the International Festivals are on in Edinburgh. But the other 11 months are just as interesting.

"We have some of the best art collections in Europe, fantastic architecture, a wealth of traditional culture unsurpassed in Europe and world class music.

"Our modern literature is also world beating."

He added: "That is why we can promote ourselves with confidence as a must-visit tourist destination - especially for 'cultural tourists'."

Tartan Week culminates in Saturday's Tartan Day parade, when up to 10,000 bagpipers from 27 countries are due to take part in the largest pipe band ever to be assembled.

Sir Sean Connery
Sir Sean will set the Tartan Day parade off

The Tunes of Glory Parade, from Sixth Avenue to Central Park, will be sent on its way by Sir Sean Connery and aims to raise cash for cancer charities.

A delegation of MSPs, led by Presiding Officer Sir David Steel, will be in New York to promote tourism and business.

However, Sir David and First Minister Jack McConnell have cut short their plans to enable them to return in time for the Queen Mother's funeral on Tuesday.

April 6 was chosen as Tartan Day in the US by expatriate Scots who wanted to commemorate the anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320. It has been a holiday since 1998.

See also:

04 Apr 02 | Scotland
McConnell to join Tartan Day
01 Apr 02 | Scotland
Town crier's tartan battle cry
26 Feb 02 | Scotland
Stars back Scots cultural showcase
05 Jul 01 | Scotland
Pipers to perform in Big Apple
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