Scottish Parliament debates social tourism

The work of the Family Holiday Association was given top billing during a recent debate in the Scottish Parliament. 

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs introducing the Inclusive Tourism debate – Tuesday 14 March 2017

Following VisitScotland’s successful ScotSpirit campaign last year and the social tourism pilot in Glasgow last October, the Scottish Government scheduled the following motion for debate that began –

“That the Parliament recognises the vital role that tourism plays in Scotland’s prosperity, not only in its direct economic impact, but in the many ways that it can help to tackle the inequalities that exist in society; notes the recent collaboration by VisitScotland, the Family Holiday Association, Historic Environment Scotland and the many industry partners to provide ScotSpirit Breaks for families in difficult circumstances, which has shown the positive impact that the industry can have on improving the lives and life-chances of people who are not able to step outside their everyday routine…” My emphasis.

The following video is only a small portion of the debate that lasted over two and a half hours and garnered cross-party support.

The full debate can be seen here and the transcript can be downloaded here – Official Report 14 March 2017.

The other MSP featured in the clip is the charity’s old friend John Mason. I first met John when he was a Glasgow MP and during the clip he refers directly to our ScotSpirit Report and to his time in London and the conversations he had with the charity.

Next month when I visit Edinburgh, in addition to hoping to meet John again, I will be meeting Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop , VisitScotland’s CEO Malcolm Roughead and Scottish Government Tourism officials when I hope to build on all the goodwill that social tourism has already gathered in Scotland to ensure its further progress.

The advance we have made with social tourism in Scotland is very heartening building as it does on our work with VisitEngland and English destination organisations such as Visit Kent and Make It York.

I will shortly be putting up a short blog about my recent visit to Swansea where I met with Visit Wales and others interested in promoting the concept of social tourism in Wales.

Lots of our most important projects have come about because of our work in engaging with Westminster, Holyrood, and the national “Visits”.  And now Wales seems to have caught the bug.  All great stuff.


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