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Last Updated:  Saturday, 5 April, 2003, 10:31 GMT 11:31 UK
Tartan Day drums up support
Tartan Day aims to encourage tourists to Scotland
Tartan Day aims to encourage tourists to Scotland
More than 2,000 pipers and drummers from all over the world have marched down New York's Sixth Avenue to mark Tartan Day.

Scottish Secretary Helen Liddell sent a message to those taking part, but has decided not to attend because of the conflict in the Gulf.

First Minister Jack McConnell, who is leading Labour's campaign for the forthcoming Holyrood elections, also stayed away.

However, he said that the momentum built up in previous years must not be allowed to ebb away.

Drummers and pipers

The celebrations in New York and other venues across the United States are part of the 5th annual Tartan Day programme.

Last year, a record-breaking Tunes of Glory parade in New York attracted up to an estimated 10,000 drummers and pipers.

It is the culmination of a week of events showcasing Scottish life and culture aimed at promoting the country in the US and encouraging tourists to visit.

Tartan Day was first formalised by the US Senate in 1998 to mark the Declaration of Arbroath on 6 April 1320, when a group of Scottish nobles swore independence from England.

The activities undertaken in the past week have allowed us to build for the future in what is a very important time for Scottish tourism
Peter Lederer
VisitScotland
Parts of the document are said to have been used by the Founding Fathers when the American colonies followed suit in 1776.

Supporters of Tartan Day hope it could eventually gain the same status and profile for Scotland as St Patrick's Day does for the Irish Republic.

In Scotland, there has also been a series of consumer and business events based on key interests for American visitors such as genealogy, golf, culture and heritage.

Peter Lederer, head of Scotland's tourism board VisitScotland, hoped the events would promote the country's tourism industry and encourage trade and cultural links.

"The activities undertaken in the past week have allowed us to build for the future in what is a very important time for Scottish tourism," he said.

"Following this week, we will be building on the contacts and business opportunities identified to ensure that the work we have done will boost tourism to Scotland in the years to come."


SEE ALSO:
Tuning up for Tartan Day
30 Mar 03  |  Scotland
Pipers on form for Tartan day
07 Apr 02  |  Scotland
Stars back Scots cultural showcase
26 Feb 02  |  Scotland


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