A PLACE of outstanding natural beauty – that’s the description of Scotland in a new government campaign to promote the country’s tourism industry.
2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland – a celebration of flora and fauna, outdoor fun and outstanding food, whether it’s on our doorstep or further afield.
The campaign – which follows the Year of Food and Drink, Year of Active Scotland and Year of Creative Scotland – kicked off to a good start in January, with American network CNN naming us as the top travel choice for 2013.
Now, the focus is on making both Scots and the wider world aware of the country’s natural assets, from reserves of wind, wave and tidal power to top seasonal cuisine.
Events are taking place throughout the country in celebration of Scotland’s great outdoors – as well as the usual cultural affairs closer to home (Celtic Connections, the Glasgow Film Festival, Piping Live! and the Strathclyde Park Triathalon all make the list).
Glasgow’s green credentials are also pushed to the fore as part of the campaign, with information available on the 90 parks on offer across the dear, green place – and nearby, there’s more on UNESCO world heritage sites like New Lanark and the Falls of Clyde.
Tourism minister Fergus Ewing explained: “The Year of Natural Scotland provides us with an excellent opportunity to make the most of Scotland’s magnificent natural heritage and increase visitor numbers in the process.
“I am encouraging everyone at home and abroad to discover or rediscover Scotland by getting out and seeing some of our world-renowned scenery, wildlife and other natural attractions – which will boost business and enhance both the local and national economies.
“Together we can build on this success for the Year of Natural Scotland and keep the momentum going for the second year of Homecoming in 2014, when Scotland will take centre stage in world terms as host of the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup.”
To find out more about the campaign, and events across Scotland, visit www.eventscotland.org/natural or www.snh.gov.uk/natural.