VisitScotland - Luigi Di Pasquale

Source: VisitScotland / Luigi Di Pasquale

Scotland Food & Drink has launched a pilot training programme aimed at enhancing eating and drinking experiences across the country.

The trade body said it was seeking to recruit 50 food and drink businesses for the programme, which is designed to address the challenges faced by Scottish producers in making their experiences more easily discoverable and bookable for international and domestic tourists.

Led by Scotland Food & Drink on behalf of the food tourism leadership group including VisitScotland, the Scottish Government, and the Scottish Tourism Alliance, the programme builds on insights from the Scotland Visitor Survey 2023. This revealed that nearly half (46%) of visitors engage in food and drink activities during their stay, with nearly a fifth (19%) of long-haul travellers specifically choosing Scotland for its culinary offerings.

To capitalise on this growing interest, the programme promises substantial benefits such as training in online presence and reputation management, content creation, and direct marketing. Participants can expect a range of tailored training activities, including virtual workshops, personalised mentoring, and expert-led masterclasses in food tourism.

“Scotland’s food and drink experiences are unmatched, and this programme offers businesses a fantastic opportunity to improve their offerings, reach new audiences, and benefit from invaluable networking opportunities,” commented Fiona Richmond, head of regional food at Scotland Food & Drink. “We encourage all eligible businesses to apply and take advantage of the expertise on offer to further enhance Scotland’s reputation as a premier food tourism destination.”

Scotland Food & Drink noted the opportunity is ideal for businesses that are ready to commit approximately 33 hours, plus self-study, to fully participate in the programme. In return, they will receive training and mentoring valued at £2,500, all for a nominal fee of £75, it said.

Applications are open until 31 July, with the programme scheduled to start in August and run until March 2025. Interested candidates are advised to review the eligibility criteria before submitting an application via the Scotland Food & Drink website here.