Labour MSP, Kezia Dugdale, has encouraged the Scottish Government to look at how it can improve Scotland’s appeal as a LGBT tourist destination.
In questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Fiona Hyslop, today in Holyrood, Ms Dugdale challenged the SNP to ‘tell the world’ that Scotland is an open and inclusive destination for LGBT visitors.
She highlighted the economic impact of Pride events, with a record breaking number of events set to be staged this year, including in East Lothian and Aberdeen. Marketing these events to visitors from across the UK and further afield could deliver a significant boost for local businesses in Scotland’s cities and towns.
“Pride events can help change attitudes towards LGBT people, as well as helping to increase local tourism and boost local economies. This year is going to be a record year for Pride events in Scotland, and that is something to celebrate as we strive for greater equality. But as well as being great for visibility and empowerment, these events are also good for local economies. We can be rightly proud of our record on LGBT rights in Scotland, and I have asked ministers to reflect on whether we do enough to tell the world that.”
In response, ministers said they have made an offer to engage with Pride organisers via the Scottish Government’s tourism team.
Richard McArthur is the Co-Convener of Fife Pride, a new event which launched in July 2017 and attracted over 3500 people to its inaugural Pride in Kirkcaldy, and he said:
“We thank Kezia Dugdale for raising this important issue in Parliament today and we’re making contact with the Scottish Government to progress talks. Ofcourse, Pride was born out of protest and we must always remember that the fight for equality and against discrimination continues, even here in Scotland – this remains the primary focus of all Pride organisers.”
“But where our events attract thousands of people, they have a very positive economic benefit on local businesses and we agree that Scotland could benefit from a more coordinated approach to promoting the country abroad to the LGBT market, which is estimated to be worth more than £1billion per year worldwide.”
There are now confirmed plans for 9 Pride events in Scotland in 2018, with all the dates listed here.