STP Chief Officer Phil Prentice shares his thoughts on a variety of opportunities and issues for towns.

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And for once I’m not talking Whisky or Harris Gin.

Alongside the likes of Uganda, Bolivia and India, Scotland is included in the prestigious Rough Guides top 10 countries to visit in 2017. Global visitors are told to expect whisky, wildlife, a warm welcome and the opportunity to experience the most recent addition to the nation’s tourism offer – The North Coast 500.

Cast your minds back to Scotland 2014, seems like an age away now – The Bannockburn Homecoming, Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and then the Independence Referendum. For a year Scotland was the noisiest and most electric nation on the planet and I think we can start to get some of that Spirit back in 2017.

Our towns and cities need to be geared up to welcome more visitors and to collaborate together to create authentic journeys and experiences that will help drive economic success. We should take great pride in the fact we have some of the best scenery, destinations, towns and cities, heritage, culture and food and drink in the world. Too often we take all this for granted. Look at what Paisley, Perth, Aberdeen and Dundee are all working on in terms of Culture Bids – all of this will add new colour and spark to already exciting places. Glasgow and Edinburgh can already compete with any global city destination – for culture, connectivity, creativity, heritage and hospitality.

The Spirt of Scotland campaign is still running globally and businesses, destinations and events can all still tap into this platform - Spirit.

Visit Scotland also has its free web listing - Visit - and last year more than 20 million visitors used this website to find out about accommodation, food and drink, activities, festivals and events. It’s a fantastic and cost effective way to promote your towns and businesses, both nationally and globally.

Furthermore, 2017 is the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

The opportunities to engage with this theme year are significant, given that Scotland more or less invented the modern world.  

From Britain’s first Capital City up in Orkney to the string of castles, monuments and ancient battlefields in the Scottish Borders, Scotland has a depth of assets and a story to tell that makes us the envy of the world.

So let’s engage, and showcase the best of Scotland to locals and international visitors alike, the towns and cities that drove international inventions and created our industrial revolution. Come to Greenock to learn about James Watt and the steam engine, or to Paisley to learn about weaving, textiles and sanitation, Dundee for jute, jam and journalism. Helensburgh can curate John Logie Baird’s television, Edinburgh can tell you about Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, and Ayrshire on Alexander Fleming and penicillin. Kirkcaldy is home to Adam Smith the father of modern economics, Dunfermline was the birthplace of the industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

We can tell the world of the story of the Enlightenment and showcase some of the best educational facilities and universities in the world.

We can also show how social pioneers like Robert Owen (Welsh social reformer) developed systems of fairness that the world is crying out for today. The outstanding world Heritage site in New Lanark is a testament to social progress.

It’s also the Chinese Year of the Rooster – Romance, Luck and Personality.

We have Romance and Personality in abundance and we can make our own luck this year.

Let's get back into the Spirit, and aye, have a whisky or gin as the year unfolds.

Source: Chief Officer's Blog 

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