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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 September 2005, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
The Bard to be promoted worldwide
Robert Burns
Plans are under way to mark the 250th anniversary of Burns' birth
Robert Burns' international image has been given a major cash boost to coincide with plans to celebrate the 250th anniversary of his birth.

The Scottish Executive has awarded 100,000 to the Robert Burns World Federation to improve communication with its 80,000 worldwide members.

Culture Minister Patricia Ferguson said she hoped the money would help bring more overseas visitors to Scotland.

The Bard was born on 25 January, 1759, in Alloway near Ayr and died in 1796.

The federation will play an important role in the executive's plans for the Year of Homecoming 2009, which aims to use the 250th anniversary of Burns' birth to attract Scots home, and to increase the numbers of overseas visitors coming to Scotland.

Few Scots, if any, are as revered on the international stage - from Siberia to South America
Culture Minister Patricia Ferguson

Ms Ferguson said: "Building better links with Burns enthusiasts throughout the world will be an essential part of that process.

"We know that his appeal is truly worldwide. Few Scots, if any, are as revered on the international stage - from Siberia to South America.

"The federation will also help to revive interest in Burns here in Scotland, fostering a growing sense of pride in our rich cultural heritage, which Burns so often celebrated through his poetry."

The minister said Burns was worth nearly 160m to the Scottish economy.

"The Year of Homecoming has the potential to build on this impressive figure by bringing substantial numbers of overseas visitors to see the country which fashioned the man and his writings," she added.

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