Page last updated at 18:17 GMT, Thursday, 8 March 2012

Tourism debate 1

Enterprise and Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing began the debate on tourism by welcoming the impact Edinburgh's new Green Investment Bank would have on Scotland, on 8 March 2012.

Edinburgh beat off competition from 31 other bids to win the headquarters of the UK's Green Investment Bank.

The bank is being set up with £3bn of public money to help firms finance early-stage renewable energy schemes.

Mr Ewing said the announcement was "good news for the tourism sector".

The minister said: "Tourism contributes directly to more than £4,000m every year to the Scottish economy."

He also insisted tourism in Scotland continued to grow, in spite of world-wide recession.

Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser highlighted the Economy and Tourism Committee's concerns about the government target of 50% growth in tourism by 2016.

The Economy and Tourism Committee had warned a target for a 50% boost in Scotland's tourism industry by 2016 cannot be met.

The 10-year Scottish government growth plan was set in 2006, before the global economic crisis hit.

The Economy Committee report on tourism cited industry concern the target was "not considered achievable".

Mr Fraser asked if the government needed to revise its target.

The economy and tourism minister insisted he was "an optimist and there's lots to be optimistic about."

Scottish Labour MSP Rhoda Grant's amendment was backed by the minister as it commended tourist industry partners for working together to develop green and eco-tourism.

Ms Grant went on to highlight the issue of low pay in the hospitality industry, pointing out the phrase "pay peanuts, get monkeys".

She said career development should be one of the tourism priorities.

The second part of the debate can be viewed below:

tourism 2

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