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Toast to Year of Food and Drink

Press Release   •   Feb 12, 2016 10:55 GMT

Over one million people attended Year of Food and Drink 2015 events, VisitScotland can reveal.

The announcement comes as the national tourism organisation released a new video showcasing the success of the themed year.

Over 200 events took place last year, celebrating the role that food and drink plays in shaping Scotland’s economic success, with over one million attendances at the 47 events that received Year of Food and Drink funding.

Scotland generates over £2.5m per day through food and drink tourism while sampling traditional dishes and local produce is the second top activity undertaken by visitors.

The Year of Food and Drink 2015 in numbers:

  • 1,000th Scottish business receiving ‘Taste Our Best’, VisitScotland's accreditation scheme which recognises businesses that provide locally sourced, quality food and drink.
  • Total estimated visitor expenditure on ‘Eating and Drinking Out’ Jan-Sept 2015 is £804 million, which is up from £747 million in 2014.
  • 65% of respondents to UK Brand & Communications Tracker 2015 strongly agreed or agreed that ‘Scotland is a great place for food and drink experiences’.
  • Two thirds of visitors to Scotland stated that they really like to find out about the local foods and local dishes unique to the destination.
  • 73,000 downloads of brand new Food and Drink ebooks from
  • The Royal Highland Show’s ‘Scotland’s Larder Live!’ enjoying a record attendance level of 188,000 visitors.
  • The 12 monthly themes that engaged the food and drink industry.
  • Over 100 events signing Scotland’s Food Charter.
  • Over 33,000 people attending Whisky Month themed events.
  • You’ll Have Had Yer Tea? Treasured Tastes of Scotlandrecipe book being released, featuring more than 40 traditional recipes submitted by the public.

The Year of Food and Drink also played its part in keeping the food and drink sector on track to meet a record turnover target of £16.5 billion by 2017.

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said:

“Visitors come to Scotland for many reasons and 2015 has shown that Scotland’s world leading food and drink is foremost among them, with hoteliers, restaurants and other operators across Scotland rising to the challenge and giving visitors experiences to remember.

“With more than one million people attending Year of Food and Drink events and tracking down local dishes and restaurants, it has been an undoubted success, showcasing some of the very best that Scotland has to offer.

“I have no doubt that 2016’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design will continue in the same vein, capturing the public’s imagination and providing a unique focus for Scotland’s world class tourism offering.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said:

“The Year of Food and Drink 2015 was a phenomenal success, helping to raise the profile of Scotland’s outstanding natural larder on the world stage. It built on the momentum generated by previous themed years, further developing Scotland’s reputation as a Land of Food and Drink.

“Promoting our food and drink is a recipe for success with two out of three visitors to Scotland stating that quality of food is an important factor when deciding where to go on holiday.

“This new video showcases some of the best moments of a truly memorable twelve months for Scottish tourism, offering a taste of the culinary delights which can be enjoyed across the country every year. The Year may be at an end, but food and drink remains an important focus in attracting visitors to Scotland and making their visit memorable and enjoyable.

Fiona Richmond, Scotland Food & Drink project manager, said:

“Food and drink is Scotland’s fastest growing sector with a record value of more than £14bn a year announced during the Year of Food and Drink. Scotland has a growing and deserving reputation as a Land of Food and Drink thanks to the topography of unspoiled landscapes, fertile land, clean air and cold, clear waters which give rise to world class premium produce.

“The Year saw hundreds of events take place across the length and breadth of the country, showcasing the country’s fantastic food and drink. There is growing evidence that consumers want to enjoy local produce and many events adopted the Food Charter for Events to improve the quality of their offering- this legacy will continue across future focus years and beyond.”

To view the Year of Food and Drink 2015 highlight video, visit

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business events in Scotland go to

    Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the current 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • Join the conversation at #IAD2016
  • Events can join the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Partner Programme throughout the year by visiting