Funding for Perthshire tourism
A funding award that will help local businesses attract corporate tourism to Perthshire by promoting the region as a destination for conferences, exhibitions and other events has been announced.
Speaking on a visit to Perth Racecourse ahead of next weekend's Charities Race Day, First Minister Alex Salmond revealed the Perthshire Business Tourism Group had been granted £18,500 from the VisitScotland Growth Fund to market the region as a location for corporate events.
During his visit to the racecourse, the First Minister also unveiled the trophy for the Scottish Hydro Summer Champion Hurdle, the flagship race at the forthcoming Charities Race Day, which will be attended by Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay.
The First Minister will also attend the Race Day on Saturday August 20, which is expected to attract record crowds and raise substantial sums for charities such as the Prince's Trust in Scotland.
Speaking at Perth Racecourse, First Minister Alex Salmond said:
"Perthshire has beautiful scenery that attracts many thousands of tourists each year, driving the local economy and helping businesses thrive.
"As well as leisure tourism, Perthshire is an ideal location for business tourists, with some fantastic venues that can host conferences, seminars and other events. Today's announcement will help local firms take greater advantage of this lucrative market, driving further growth and bringing even more jobs to the area.
"Tourism in the region will also be given a huge lift by the forthcoming Charities Race Day here at Perth Racecourse. This is shaping up to be the biggest event ever held at the racecourse and one of the signature dates in this year's Scottish sporting calendar.
"It is incredible to see how this event has grown from a conversation I had with Prince Charles, into a spectacular day of racing and other activities that will draw a record crowd of 15,000 and bring significant benefits to the local economy.
"Thanks to the hard work of the organisers and the generosity of a variety of sponsors, we are on track to see a number of charities receive substantial donations and the richest ever prize fund in Perth Racecourse's history. Central to the day will be the £40,000 Scottish Hydro Summer Champion Hurdle, with the magnificent trophy that I am pleased to be unveiling today."
Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, John Swinney said:
"Corporate business already accounts for 20 per cent of all tourism expenditure in Scotland and this money from the VisitScotland Growth Fund will allow Perthshire companies to continue the drive to increase visitor numbers and to reach new target markets.
"By developing and promoting Perthshire as a business destination, visitors will be encouraged to travel here all year round, boosting the local jobs market in the process.
"But it doesn't stop there, tourism has a key role to play in our national economy. By working together and developing innovative ideas like this, tourism businesses can flourish and bring real economic benefits to their local are and the whole of Scotland."
VisitScotland Chairman Mike Cantlay added:
"Business tourism is worth more than £800 million to the Scottish economy and it is great to see these Perthshire businesses getting together to promote their region.
"Perthshire has a lot to offer the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) market and this VisitScotland Growth Fund award and the efforts of the Perthshire Business Tourism Group will further enhance its reputation as a business tourism destination."
The VisitScotland Growth Fund allows businesses to apply for a total of £1 million of funding over the next three years to help market their product to its maximum potential.
The latest award has been made to the Perthshire Business Tourism Group as match funding to help meet the total £37,000 project cost. Perth and Kinross Council have also contributed £4,500.
The group comprises: Murrayshall House Hotel & Conference Centre; BlueSky Experiences; Perth Concert Hall; Scone Palace; Dunkeld Hilton; Famous Grouse Experience; St Johnstone FC; Blair Castle and Atholl Estates; Crieff Hydro; Perth Racecourse; Atholl Palace
The Charities Race Day at Perth Racecourse will take place on 20 August. It will be attended by Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay and the First Minister.
The event is supported by sponsors Scottish Hydro, DC Thomson, Ryanair, Ladbrokes, Royal Bank of Scotland, Tesco Bank, Aviva and Famous Grouse, with all charity monies raised going to the Prince's charities.