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Consumer affairs correspondent Gillian Marles
"Selling Scotland is becoming a struggle"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 4 April, 2001, 20:21 GMT 21:21 UK
Tourism hopes rest on marketing drive
visitscotland sign
The Scottish Tourist Board has been rebranded
Details of a multi-million pound marketing plan to attract tourists back to Scotland have been revealed by industry chiefs.

Some 6.3m will be spent to convince people that Scotland is open for business despite the ongoing foot-and-mouth crisis.

The battle plan was outlined by Peter Lederer, the chairman of visitscotland, at a tourism trade show in Glasgow on Wednesday.

Adverts will be paid for from 5m of Scottish Executive money announced last week, and emergency assistance will be funded through an extra with 1.3m just released by the tourism authority.

Foot-and-mouth in Scotland
126 confirmed cased on 4 April
Animals slaughtered:
82,000 sheep
1,000 cattle
Of these:
11,000 sheep with tracings to Longtown Market, Cumbria
66,000 at farms within 3km of infected sites
5,000 at adjacent farms
1,000 cattle in Dumfries and Galloway
Mr Lederer said: "We have agreed with the industry that the most important action we can take at this time is to get accurate information into the market place about Scotland, build customer confidence and generate business in a sector that is vital to Scotland's economy."

It was also announced that visitscotland is to re-launch its UK spring campaign in London on 17 April.

The drive, which involves posters at key underground sites, will spearhead the start of the 2.3m campaign which was postponed in early March because of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

The rest of the UK campaign is expected to get under way by May.

Mr Lederer said: "It is not only important that we give a message that Scotland is open for business but that we continue marketing the country where appropriate to help support the industry.

Quashing myths

"We are seeing areas of land open on an almost daily basis - but operators are still suffering from huge losses.

"We can't sit by and watch that happen. Obviously we have a major job to convert that interest into visits.

Peter Lederer
Peter Lederer: "Scotland is open for business"
"We have spent the last few weeks collecting information, giving out sensible advice, quashing myths and monitoring the situation, but we now need to start marketing Scotland, particularly to the Scots to get them to holiday in their own country."

The moves were announced as First Minister Henry McLeish continued a visit to America for Tartan Week. He is working to encourage US tourists not to be put off visiting Scotland.

Scottish Tourism Minister Alasdair Morrison welcomed the measures, saying: "Special assistance is being given to businesses in the affected areas, as I promised would happen when I visited Dumfries and Galloway last month.

"The industry will also benefit from the marketing and information campaign that visitscotland will undertake."

'Range of options'

Meanwhile, the Scottish Executive said a second possible burning site had been identified for disposal of animals killed on farms next to premises infected with foot-and-mouth.

Preparations are under way at the site at Eastriggs in Dumfries and Galloway, and it will be available for use shortly.

Scottish Tourism fair
Tourism workers have been trying to sell Scotland
A spokesman said: "In a fluid situation like the current foot-and-mouth outbreak, it is sensible and appropriate to have a range of options available."

Jeff Hamblin, chief executive of the British Tourist Authority, said a separate 5m was being spent on a global PR drive to send out the message that Britain was open.

He said the cost to the whole UK industry was currently running at an estimated 120m-a-week.

Mr Hamblin welcomed the aid package announced by Scottish tourism chiefs, while admitting that confidence overseas had taken a blow because of the outbreak.

He said that it was vital to give out accurate and up-to-date information about the many areas of the tourism sector which were still open to the public.

About 79% of the tourist attractions in the UK were currently unaffected and open for business, added Mr Hamblin.

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See also:

04 Apr 01 | UK
Animal cull 'making impact'
02 Apr 01 | Scotland
Scottish tourism steps up fightback
31 Mar 01 | Scotland
Blair praises foot-and-mouth efforts
28 Mar 01 | Scotland
Animal disease spreads in Scotland
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