Fife Tourism Partnership

‘Visitors’ hunger for Scottish food and drink experiences’

9 May 2024

New research by VisitScotland has revealed growing visitor demand for Scotland’s food and drink experiences.

It comes as the national tourism organisation, in partnership with Scotland Food & Drink, launches a new industry guide to help tourism businesses take a share of this lucrative market, which globally reached £757 billion in 2023. *

Findings from the Scotland Visitor Survey 2023** showed that almost half of visitors (46%) took part in at least one food and drink activity (in addition to eating out) during their trip last year, with nearly a fifth (19%) of long-haul visitors now naming food and drink as the reason for choosing Scotland as a destination.

Visiting a whisky, gin distillery or brewery (26%) was the most popular type of food and drink activity followed by farm shop or farmers market (22%), fine dining (14%) or other experience such as a cookery class or afternoon tea (9%).

Experiencing locally produced food and drink was important to all visitors, especially those from the USA (51%) who make up Scotland’s largest international visitor market.

This rise in food related travel is a global trend, driven by increasing consumer interest in food and drink combined with a desire for more unique and authentic travel experiences boosted by social media and television shows, such as Somebody Feed Phil which recently featured an episode on Scotland.

Experiences involve learning about, appreciating or consuming food and drink that reflects the history, heritage and culture of a place***

With the global food tourism predicted to be worth £2,500 billion by 2032****, this market presents huge opportunity for Scotland which is why VisitScotland has partnered with sector specialists Scotland Food & Drink to create a free industry guide to help businesses grow and develop their food and drink offering.

Included in the guide is:

· Practical advice on how businesses can create a quality food and drink tourism experience.

· Market insight from Scotland Food & Drink and the VisitScotland Scotland Visitor Survey 2023.

· Marketing advice – from creating social media content and working with influencers to collaborating with other businesses.

· Local produce sourcing guidance – how to source and use more local produce and promote Scottish ingredients.

· Case studies – of businesses from across the country who have built a successful food and drink tourism experience, from creating an immersive dining experience in the heart of Glasgow to foraging tours and outdoor cooking at a restored croft in the Highlands.

· Useful resources – including upskilling and funding opportunities.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said:

“Scotland’s reputation for food and drink is exceptional. We want to share our world-class offering through memorable tourism experiences right across the country and build our reputation as a leading global destination for food and drink.

“With this now a significant consideration for visitors choosing destinations and an integral part of their stay in Scotland, this presents a huge opportunity for businesses, which is why we have partnered with Scotland Food & Drink to create this new industry guide.

“With particular demand for locally produced food and drink, developing this tourism offer can benefit those in the wider supply chain supporting communities and the economy as well as our own responsible tourism ambitions.”

Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food at Scotland Food & Drink said:

“Scotland’s food tourism allure is undeniable, and our visitors are hungry for the authentic food and drink experiences available in every corner of the country.

“As the demand for food and drink experiences surges, our new industry guide will allow businesses to seize the opportunity to tap into this lucrative market. From practical advice on crafting quality experiences to marketing insights and local produce sourcing guidance, this guide equips businesses to serve up unforgettable experiences and showcase Scotland’s food and drink to the world.”

For more information about food tourism or to access VisitScotland’s industry guide, visit: https://www.visitscotland.org/supporting-your-business/visitor-experience/food-tourism-industry

* Culinary Tourism Market Report 2024 https://www.researchandmarkets.com/report/culinary-tourism

** Scotland Visitor Survey 2023 Food & Drink summary: Food Drink Tourism – Visitor Research & Statistics | VisitScotland.org

*** Scotland Food & Drink, Food Tourism Scotland https://foodanddrink.scot/helping-business/other-resources/publications/food-tourism-scotland/

**** Culinary Tourism Market Report 2024 https://www.researchandmarkets.com/report/culinary-tourism

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