NEW YORK, March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- From April 3-10, Scottish Ministers will travel throughout North America to promote Scotland as a modern, dynamic nation with a wealth of business and investment opportunities by building on existing relationships and forging new alliances.
Built around the annual Tartan Day celebrations in North America, held this year on April 6, Scotland Week serves to promote Scotland's culture, renowned creativity and distinctive heritage to two of its biggest markets, the United States and Canada.
Minister for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell, and Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism Jim Mather will undertake a series of business meetings and promotional engagements in the US and Canada, working with VisitScotland and Scottish Development International (SDI).
Fiona Hyslop said: "We have developed Scotland Week into an ambitious programme of activity involving Ministers, SDI and VisitScotland. This year will build on the success of the Year of Homecoming in reaching out to those with an affinity to Scotland.
"Canada and the US are tremendously important to Scotland's economy. The US is our largest export market, largest inward investor and largest tourist market. The focus of Scotland Week 2010 is to maintain confidence in Scotland as an internationally competitive business location and promote Scotland as a must-see, must-return visitor destination."
Next week in New York, Fiona Hyslop will start the seventh annual Scotland Run in Central Park, undertake a series of business and cultural events including hosting a reception at an exhibition by renowned Scottish photographer Harry Benson, and promote the Scottish textiles industry at the Dressed to Kilt fashion show. Ms. Hyslop will then travel to Tennessee to meet local businesses and elected Congress representatives who helped establish the Friends of Scotland Caucuses, and to attend events celebrating the cultural links between the US and Scotland, including a showcase by Celtic folk artist Laura McGhee and John Carter Cash.
In Pittsburgh, Toronto and San Francisco, Michael Russell will participate in a series of business, cultural and education-related meetings and events. Mr. Russell will give a speech at Carnegie Mellon University about building Scotland's future on the legacy of past successes and undertake events with the Sierra Club in San Francisco.
Jim Mather will travel to Boston, New York and Texas for meetings with key investors and will give a speech at The Fletcher School at Tufts University about how American thinkers are informing the debate about Scotland's future. In San Antonio, Mr. Mather will dedicate a memorial to the Scots who died at the Alamo in March 1936. Mr. Mather will round off Scotland Week by participating in the Kirkin O' The Tartan and annual Tartan Day Parade in New York on Saturday, April 10.
VisitScotland's Scotland Week activity will focus on New York, San Francisco and Toronto, promoting Scotland as a must-see, must-visit destination and will use this year's food and drink theme to showcase Scottish cuisine. Award-winning Scots chef Tony Singh will be in the US to allow guests and leading gourmet and travel media to sample everything from Punjabi salmon to haggis pakora, emphasising the quality and freshness of Scotland's world-class cuisine.
VisitScotland's new Chairman, Mike Cantlay, said: "Scotland Week 2010 is a fantastic opportunity for Scottish tourism, allowing us to target key Canadian and US markets at a time when the dollar, particularly in Canada, is so competitive. We will take full advantage of heightened media interest in Scotland around Tartan Day, with our programme building on the success of Homecoming 2009.
"This year's programme will focus on working with travel trade partners and media around our core 2010 tourism themes of value for money, gourmet cuisine, adventure travel and Scotland as a sustainable destination.
"In a challenging economic environment, it is more important than ever to target key markets, and Scotland Week is a great opportunity to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland."
SDI is holding a series of engagements in Boston, Houston, San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Toronto, targeting key business influencers and Globalscots.
David Smith, interim chief executive of Scottish Development International, said: "Scotland's track record of innovation, invention and enterprise has helped us to attract significant US investment in the past, and both the US and Canada continue to be hugely important markets for trade opportunities for Scottish business.
"We are continuing to raise awareness of Scotland's capabilities and attractiveness as an inward investment location during Scotland Week 2010 and have an ambitious programme of events, meetings and visits planned this and throughout the year.
"This year, we are on a mission to showcase Scotland's capabilities in key sectors such as renewables and life sciences, where we have world-leading science and technology, and we're looking forward to promoting these talents on the international stage."
Commenting on his forthcoming exhibition Harry Benson said: "I am grateful for the Scottish Government's support and delighted that some of my favourite work will be featured during Scotland Week 2010. I look forward to welcoming fellow Scots and New Yorkers alike to the exhibition."
Scotland Week 2010 runs from April 3 to 10, 2010. More information at www.scotland.org/scotland-week
As in previous years, the combined Scottish Government, VisitScotland and Scottish Development International budget for Scotland Week 2010 is 400,000 pounds sterling.
SDI is a joint venture between the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise. Its role is to promote and secure inward investment. More information at www.sdi.co.uk
VisitScotland is the national tourism organisation. Its role is to promote Scotland as a tourism destination. More information at www.visitscotland.com
SOURCE The Scottish Government; Scottish Development International