Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Tartan Week Again (sorry)

According to the Scotland on Sunday, the Americans are less than impressed with proposals for Tartan Week.

I had heard rumours a few weeks ago that the organisers in New York and elsewhere in America were unhappy that the Scottish Govt had interfered with the celebration, especially the proposal to change the name to Scotland Week. I understand they felt that the Scots had been heavy handed in the way they dealt with the organisers, especially as some of them felt that the event was being 'hijacked' by the Scots. It was a blunder to organise a major event on the same night as the St Andrews' Society Ball.

I'm not surprised they aren't happy, although I agree that the event should provide more focus on attracting inward investment from the USA, this need not mean that the 'party element' should be ditched altogether. It just needs to be more balanced.

Tartan Week offers the opportunity to tempt Americans, not just Americans of Scottish descent to Scotland. In fact, according to VisitScotland, in 2006, no fewer than 475,000 trips to Scotland came from the USA. Even better, the Americans who came here spent no less than 361 million pounds. Easily outstripping second place Germany who spent 123million pounds. Not just that, but Americans seem genuinely interested in our history. I found this out for myself as a manager for Historic Scotland, and I found them to be very pleasant people to chat to.

Personally, I'd be looking at working more closely with those who have put so much effort into sustaining and developing Tartan Week in America for a decade rather than simply trying to take it over as seems to be the case. Of course the event isn't perfect, but a bit more co-operation and understanding could clearly make it a lot better, and hopefully more productive.


1st Lady said...

Tartan Week and Scotland Week sound like 2 completely different themes. One promoting our great land, the other tartan goods, possibly made in China, and Clan patterns.

Who promotes this, only Scotland and America? If so, I say change the name!

As for Americans, they make up a large number of our Edinburgh rentals and they're always so enthusiastic about Scotland. Now if only they'd learn that a day trip from Edinburgh up to see Nessie, stopping for castles inbetween and being back by 5pm really isn't possible.

Jim said...

They do sound like two different events 1st L.

I'm not too concerned about the name, I'm more concerned that changing the whole thing without the co-operation of the organisers is less than a good idea.

Tartan/Scotland week has great potential, and I wouldn't like to see people fall out over it.