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Friday, 30 November, 2001, 16:16 GMT
Tourist chiefs under fire for Potter 'gaffe'
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
The Harry Potter books were written in Scotland
British tourist chiefs have been criticised for not mentioning Scotland in a brochure which highlights locations linked with the current Harry Potter film.

The brochure is part of a worldwide marketing strategy by the British Tourist Authority (BTA) aimed at cashing in on the children's literary phenomenon.

It fails to mention Scotland even though the books were written north of the border and some scenes in the film were shot in the Highlands.

Scottish National Party MP Pete Wishart has criticised the omission and tabled a motion in the House of Commons condemning the authority's actions

JK Rowling
Mr Wishart plans to write to JK Rowling
He said: "It's outrageous that Scots should be stumping up to finance the authority, which is supposed to represent Scottish tourism worldwide, for it to deliberately cut Scotland out in this way.

"As far as the Harry Potter campaign is concerned, Scots are effectively paying to promote English tourism - with Scotland potentially losing out on millions of pounds of tourism business.

"Perhaps the kindest thing that can be said about the London-centric BTA officials who are responsible for this costly snub is that they are a bunch of muggles (non-wizard humans)."

The SNP's Highlands & Islands spokesman now plans to write to Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, who recently bought a house in his North Tayside constituency.

He is calling on her to back moves for Scottish sites to be included in the next version of the campaign due out in the spring.

'Huge success'

The current brochure features a number of English tourists spots including Gloucester Cathedral and Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.

But the BTA has defended the fact that no Scottish locations were included.

A spokeswoman for the authority said it had received permission from Warner Brothers, who made the current film, to use just eight sites from the movie in the brochure.

She said the studio insisted that all of the sites were public buildings.

Perhaps the kindest thing that can be said about the London-centric BTA officials who are responsible for this costly snub is that they are a bunch of muggles

Pete Wishart, SNP
"We were thrilled to get the go ahead from Warner Brothers to use the Harry Potter logo completely free of charge in a bid to capitalise on its huge success," she said.

"We would have loved to use every location used in the film but the company was adamant that we only used certain sites, it was something out of our control."

She said eight sites from the movie were shown on a map in the brochure in red and were accompanied by several paragraphs with information about them.

Another 32 other sites, including 13 in Scotland and several in Wales, are also highlighted in the map in a different colour.

The spokeswoman added: "It is simply not right to say we have forgotten Scotland.

"We are fully aware of our statutory obligation to promote all countries within the UK and jump through hoops to do so.

"This occasion was no different and at the end of the day we are delighted with the brochure which we think fairly represents this country as a whole."

See also:

06 Nov 01 | Reviews
Magical Potter casts his spell
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