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 Friday, 24 January, 2003, 10:38 GMT
Burns brings cash bonanza
burns graphic
Burns Night is celebrated on 25 January
Scotland's national bard, Robert Burns, brings more than 157m a year into the country, according to a BBC documentary.

The makers of "Burns the Brand" asked an economist with the World Bank, Lesley Campbell, to count the benefit to the Scottish economy from the link with the poet.

The biggest single source of income is Burns-related tourism.

It brings in 150m, two-thirds of which goes straight to Ayrshire where Burns was born and lived most of his life.

Haggis
Traditional Burns Night fare

Merchandising in souvenir shops and on the internet raises 5.5m.

Burns Night, the national celebration which takes on 25 January, the anniversary of his birth, brings in more cash.

Spending in the Burns supper season on haggis, shortbread and other edible delights equals 1.2m.

Another 300,000 comes from other spending like paying pipers and kilt hire.

True value

The extra whisky consumed at home and abroad raises only 270,000.

But overall it appears that getting "fou and unco" happy may be bad for Scots but very good for the economy.

David Stenhouse, producer of BBC Scotland's Burns the Brand, thinks the programme gets closer than ever to the true figure of the value of the bard to Scotland's economy.

He said: "I don't think you can put a value on the poetry but you can certainly put a value on the money people spend on Burns-related products and the money that tourists who come to Scotland attracted by Burns spend.

We are not saying we can reduce his worth to pounds, shillings and pence

David Stenhouse
Burns the brand producer
"We are not saying we can reduce his worth to pounds, shillings and pence but a number of people come here, spend a lot of money and Burns the Brand is a huge contributor to the Scottish economy."

Ms Campbell, who carried out the audit, said: "When I looked at the figures initially I was dispassionate. It was a very bald, analytical exercise.

"When I went down and saw Burns cottage and the museum attached, I was really surprised by how much income this, almost home-made, tourist centre manages to generate.

"That was the surprise. Not the number itself, but the area that generates it."

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  BBC Scotland's Kenneth Macdonald
"The bard means business"
See also:

17 Jan 03 | Scotland
21 Jan 02 | Scotland
25 Jan 00 | Scotland
02 Feb 99 | E-cyclopedia
Internet links:


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