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Members' Business: Robert Burns in the Scottish Economy

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Members' Business: Robert Burns in the Scottish Economy

January 21, 2020 17:37


That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the findings of the year-long research study by University of Glasgow, Robert Burns in the Scottish Economy, which has been led by Professor Murray Pittock of the Centre for Robert Burns Studies; notes that it found that Burns generates over £200 million a year for the economy and that his brand is worth nearly £140 million; believes that this news is timely, coming just ahead of the annual birthday celebrations for the Bard on 25 January 2020, when people recognise what is considered to be his genius as a poet, his passion for Scots language and culture and his commitment to humanitarian values; understands that the research, which was funded by the Scottish Government’s Economic Development Directorate, is the most comprehensive such analysis to date and was commissioned after a parliamentary debate in January 2018 that discussed the economic potential of Burns; notes that the economic sectors reported to benefit from Burns include food and drink, retail, hospitality and tourism, while his international brand helps develop business and trade relationships, but acknowledges that the study argues that much more can be done and notes its recommendations, which include the need for further plans to promote Burns at home and abroad, recognition of the Robert Burns World Federation, supporting teaching about the Bard in schools, in light of the view that current pupils will be the next generation to sell him to the world, improving signage and infrastructure to enhance access to Burns’ sites across the South Scotland region, profiling his core appeal to visitors to Dumfries and Galloway and updating the approach for Ayrshire, encouraging regional economic partnerships, for the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency to work together with local government to improve data on Burns-motivated tourism, for greater alignment between food and drink and cultural tourism, improving the connectivity of Burns-related sites, using his potential to reinforce community wealth building, developing initiatives such as joint marketing and ticketing, embedding the story of Burns in the 2020 Year of Scotland's Coasts and Waters and the UNESCO biosphere and learning from Austria’s investment in Mozart-related cultural tourism; believes that there is no contradiction in valuing Burns as a great poet and using his legacy to support the economy, and considers that Burns, who it believes knew about the hardship of poverty, would welcome what it sees as such respectful initiatives to add to the prosperity of the people and places that he loved.