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VisitScotland has revealed that trying local food and drink is one of the top activities for people enjoying a break in Scotland this year.
Latest statistics from the consumer sentiment tracker*, which is commissioned by VisitScotland, VisitEngland and Visit Wales to explore UK residents’ travel intentions, show that indulging in regional delicacies was the second most popular activity (38%) for a Scottish summer holiday. Tucking into some local grub came just behind walking, hiking, or rambling (43%) but ahead of visiting heritage sites (i.e., castles and historic houses – 37%) and nature and wildlife experiences (30%).
The statistics come as Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight celebrates ‘Discover what’s on your doorstep’ as its theme for 2023. The fortnight encourages people to explore the incredible produce in their regions and the businesses across Scotland, stocked everywhere from shops, restaurants, cafes and bars to delis and markets.
Over the last five years, food and drink has continued to be an important part of the visitor experience. Research** from 2021 showed that 75 per cent of Scottish residents thinking about future holidays or short breaks in Scotland would be willing to choose independent local shops, cafés, restaurants in Scotland. More than half (53 per cent) would be willing to pay more for locally sourced and produced food and drink.
Local restaurants, cafes, delis and farm shops are an integral part of the visitor economy, supporting jobs and enhancing an area’s tourism offering.
Pre-pandemic**, it was estimated that visitors spend around £1 billion on eating and drinking when they’re on holiday in Scotland.
VisitScotland runs the Taste Our Best award which is designed to promote the use of Scottish produce within the tourism industry. It supports local businesses and promotes reducing carbon footprints and food miles. The award recognises businesses and staff offering great quality Scottish food and drink experiences and aims to raise service standards.
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: “Scotland’s food and drink has long been a jewel in our tourism crown. The country’s landscape, extensive coastline and history have shaped our incredible larder and made it world renowned.
“Our research shows that consumers are looking to connect with the people and places associated with their food and drink purchases and there is a growing trend in artisanal food especially.
“There has never been a more important time to engage with local food and drink producers and businesses – to encourage the traditional skills and food heritage, lessen the food miles, and help boost the economies of the communities in which these businesses are based. It is crucial that visitors and Scots support local businesses where they can, and there is plenty on the menu to be savoured, with Scotland serving stunning scenery, mouth-watering food and drink and totally new experiences.”
Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight continues until 16 September with events taking place across the country to champion local food and drink producers and businesses.
To find out how you can get involved, visit: https://foodanddrink.scot/events-and-membership/scottish-food-drink-fortnight/
To learn more about Scotland’s food and drink offering visit www.visitscotland.com/things-to-do/food-drink