[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 September, 2003, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Tourism agency denies move claim
visitscotland.com advert
The tourism agency said it was not being forced to relocate
Scotland's tourism agency has denied speculation that it is being forced out of Edinburgh by Scottish Executive ministers.

VisitScotland spokesman Hugh Hall said its lease expires in March 2005 and a number of options were being considered.

However, he did concede that ministers would make the final decision.

An executive spokeswoman described the reports as "ridiculous" and said a location review was a matter of course when a lease was due to expire.

We had a meeting with staff yesterday to say we've short listed 10 possible areas throughout Scotland and we'll inform them of the outcome in due course
Hugh Hall
VisitScotland
The executive has adopted a policy to disperse the benefits of public sector jobs throughout Scotland.

It recently ordered Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to relocate its headquarters from Edinburgh to Inverness.

Speaking on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Hall said VisitScotland could renew its lease.

The agency was surprised by media reports suggesting VisitScotland was being forced to quit Edinburgh, he said.

Mr Hall said: "Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a policy on dispersal but that includes the status quo and at the moment we've not ruled out any option.

"We had a meeting with staff yesterday to say we've short-listed 10 possible areas throughout Scotland and we'll inform them of the outcome in due course."

He said staff were "naturally anxious" about the future.

Commutable locations

An executive spokeswoman told BBC News Online Scotland that the tourism agency was simply following procedures.

She said a short list of 10 potential locations had been drawn up for further consideration "and all of these are commutable".

Inverness was one of the short listed locations, she added.

Staff and unions have been protesting over the plans to relocate SNH's headquarters to Inverness.

Economic consultants had previously advised against the move which will see all but 50 of the 270 posts relocate.

But the executive defended the decision and a large number of employees are expected to resign rather than move north.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Hugh Hall, VisitScotland
"There is a policy on dispersal but that includes the status quo"



SEE ALSO:
Tourism industry shows recovery
28 Aug 03  |  Scotland
Early boost for tourism industry
20 May 03  |  Scotland
Tourist trade looks to unemployed
10 Mar 03  |  Scotland
Tourism 'break away' call
12 Nov 02  |  Scotland
Tourist trade 'failing' disabled
14 Oct 02  |  Scotland


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific