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Thursday, 2 August, 2001, 18:42 GMT 19:42 UK
Tourism boost for disease hit areas
Digger and pyre
Images of the crisis have hit tourism in Scotland
The Scottish Executive has announced a 10m aid package for tourism and rural businesses affected by foot-and-mouth disease.

The bulk of the cash - 7m - will be used to fund a marketing drive to attract more visitors from key markets in north America and continental Europe.

Around 2.5m will be allocated to the agriculture and food industry, with 300,000 going directly to local communities.

The cash has been welcomed by farming and business leaders in the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway - but some insist that more needs to be done.

Ross Finnie
Ross Finnie: "Longer-term recovery"
The cash, which was announced in the executive's June budget, was formally allocated on Thursday by Rural Development Minister Ross Finnie and Tourism Minister Alasdair Morrison.

Mr Finnie said: "The disease position, thanks to the efforts of many and the sacrifices made by those farmers directly affected, is now improving.

"The time is now clearly right to turn to concentrating on ensuring the longer-term recovery of the key sectors of our rural economy, particularly agriculture and tourism.

"We are confident that this 10m package, which we are outlining today, together with our previous measures which totalled 20.5m, has targeted the sections of greatest needs and will help ensure the swiftest and fullest possible recovery of rural Scotland at the local and national level."

Marketing campaign

Mr Morrison had earlier told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme that 7m would primarily be used for marketing to restore "Scotland's place in the world".

He said the largest chunk of that funding would be given to Scottish tourist body visitscotland, with 850,00 going to Dumfries and Galloway Tourist Board and 250,000 to the Borders Tourist Board.

He said the money would be used "very wisely" by visitscotland for a marketing campaign to encourage north Americans to trace their lineage back to Scotland.

Visitscotland will have 7m to spend on marketing
The 10m package was given a broad welcome by farmers and business leaders.

visitscotland chief executive Philip Riddle said: "We can only be effective in combating the effects of foot-and-mouth with additional resources, and with this extra funding we will work closely with the industry to get tourism back on its feet."

Les Jardine of Dumfries and Galloway Council said the package represented "good progress".

"Over the last few weeks I think we've sensed a change in heart on the part of the executive," he said.

But he said the area "could do with more cash".

Dumfries farmer Mickey Ball also welcomed the cash, but criticised the executive for attaching conditions.

"There is money coming through but one of the problems is it's very much strings attached," he said.

"Any business which wishes to take advantage of the money that's available must be able to input money itself and, to be quite frank, a lot of these businesses have no money to put in."

Central belt

Maureen McKerrow, who owns the Globe Inn in Dumfries, said it was not sensible for visitscotland to be targeting tourists from the north American market.

"I think the Americans and Canadians are not visiting Scotland just now because of the cost of coming here and when they do come here they tend to go to the central belt.

"So, that money will be spent attracting Americans and Canadians to the central belt but not to Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders."

She said the money would be better spent on making it more affordable for foreign tourists to visit Scotland.

The 10m allocated by ministers on Thursday comes on top of several other recent announcements, including a 13.5m package designed to help businesses survive the foot-and-mouth crisis.

BBC Scotland's Willie Johnston reports
"Today's package is the third major tranche of foot-and-mouth aid"
Tourism Minister, Alasdair Morrison
"The UK has suffered badly because of foot-and-mouth"
Les Jardine, Dumfries and Galloway Council
"I think we've sensed a change in heart on the part of the Executive"
See also:

16 Jul 01 | Scotland
Tourist body appoints new chief
25 Apr 01 | Scotland
Legal battle looms over tourism job
28 Apr 01 | Scotland
Tourist board 'regrets' job fiasco
24 Apr 01 | Scotland
Tourist chief defends 'dismissal'
24 Apr 01 | Scotland
Tourism's timetable of trouble
23 Apr 01 | Scotland
Tourist chief 'goes' after posts row
23 Apr 01 | Scotland
New row engulfs tourist chief
20 Apr 01 | Scotland
Ministers embark on tourism drive
19 Apr 01 | Scotland
New chief for tourist body
17 Apr 01 | Scotland
Global tourist chiefs see Scotland
16 Apr 01 | Scotland
Easter break springs tourism hope
13 Apr 01 | Scotland
Minister's 'regret' over Italy trip
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