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Thursday, 27 December, 2001, 08:44 GMT
Tourism boss upbeat about 2002
VisitScotland poster
VisitScotland is planning a huge advertising push in 2002
Scotland's tourism leaders have issued a defiant message about the industry's prospects as they look forward to 2002.

Peter Lederer, the chairman of VisitScotland, said many challenges lie ahead but that the industry is well placed to fight back.

The effects of first foot-and-mouth and 11 September, against a background of a weakening global economy meant 2001 was a torrid year for many in the tourist trade.

Mr Lederer was speaking as new figures suggested the industry in Scotland could lose as much as 500m from the combined effects of the catastrophes.

Peter Lederer
Peter Lederer believes the industry can bounce back

VisitScotland estimates losses from foot-and-mouth will reach 350m, while the terrorist attacks will account for 150m.

But the tourist board chief said tourism authorities and providers were successfully "refocusing" to move forward.

Mr Lederer also believes the industry will benefit from a heightened awareness about its importance to the Scottish economy.

He said: "Scottish tourism has been operating against some very difficult trading conditions.

"An undeniable fact is that the world is getting smaller and there are more countries competing for the same customers and the competition is becoming fierce.

Budget doubled

"Events this year have made it all the more difficult to operate and will undoubtedly have negative effects on our industry."

He added: "To meet the enormous challenges facing Scottish tourism we must pull in the same direction to achieve one common goal - that is wealth for Scotland."

VisitScotland believes the need for urgent support during the foot-and-mouth crisis was recognised by the Scottish Executive.

As a result, VisitScotland's budget was doubled to 38m to help the industry fight back with campaigns and global marketing.

Tourist information office
The trade was affected by foot-and-mouth and global events

Mr Lederer said there is a pressing need for standards in Scotland to be improved, but he praised those businesses which had listened to customers and acted on their comments.

"The coming year holds much potential for us. Our marketing efforts are becoming more focused and customer led," he said.

"Our new product portfolio allows us to sell Scotland on a theme basis rather than on a geographical basis.

"This we know will reap the best return for Scotland in markets that are already strong and will help us tap into new territories."

VisitScotland, the former Scottish Tourist Board, has been putting together a marketing agenda for the next year, which it believes will set the industry on a "solid footing".

The spring sees the launch of the largest ever domestic short breaks campaign, backed with 3m to kick start the 2002 season.

Other key campaigns will target lucrative sectors such as walking, cycling, golf, sailing and genealogy.

See also:

21 Dec 01 | Scotland
Tourist questions baffle staff
04 Dec 01 | Scotland
'Cash-back' deal for tourists
07 Nov 01 | Scotland
Tourism leaders look for answers
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