First Minister uses Delhi Games Visit to Promote Scotland

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First Minister Alex Salmond is in Delhi this week to support the Scotland team at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The First Minister will take advantage of Scotland’s high profile as the next host nation of the Games to showcase the country, explore economic opportunities with India and set the stage in the lead up to Glasgow 2014.

A busy schedule of visits and meetings will be undertaken by Mr Salmond in Delhi between today and Thursday when Scotland officially assumes host nation status at the Closing Ceremony.

The overall programme will see the Scottish Government make a number of announcements about the growing partnership between Scotland and India, including Scottish business opportunities and initiatives to encourage more tourists to visit Scotland.

The main elements of the First Minister’s programme include:

  • Visiting the athletes’ village to meet members of Team Scotland and highlight support for our athletes at the Games
  • Engagement with senior business figures, academics and GlobalScots
  • Announcing significant Indian investment and job creation in Scotland
  • High level Ministerial meetings with the Indian Government
  • Leading Scotland’s tourism and trade mission to India together with Scottish Development International (SDI), Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) and VisitScotland
  • Highlighting new education links and opportunities between Scotland and India
  • Announcing the next heritage site to be digitally recorded by Scottish experts as part of the pioneering Scottish Ten project
  • Meeting Scottish performers who will take part in the Closing Ceremony
  • Representing Scotland at the Handover Ceremony when Scotland officially assumes host nation status

Mr Salmond said:

“Our athletes are performing fantastically well in Delhi, all of Scotland is behind them, and I am proud to attend the Commonwealth Games to show support for their achievements. I would also like to wish the Scottish cast at the Closing Ceremony the best of luck. They will be great ambassadors for the country as Scotland assumes host nation status.

“I am glad to show my support for the Games and to represent Scotland when the baton is passed to Glasgow and the next host city. The eyes of the world will be watching, and I am sure that Scotland will shine.

“Scotland has very strong ties with India. We have one of the most thriving Asian communities in the world – food, the arts, business and religious tolerance and diversification have all benefited enormously from the 35,000 Indian people who call Scotland home.

“As an emerging global economic power, India is an essential partner for Scotland. For example, eleven Indian companies have made investments of £700 million in Scotland during the last five years, employing over 3,200 people and over 4,000 Indian students study at Scottish colleges and universities. The Scottish Government and its partners will work hard to ensure these links continue and grow.”

Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said:

“This mission offers an excellent opportunity for us to really sell the message to India that Scotland is a globally competitive country and is open for business.

“There are tremendous opportunities for Scottish companies to develop trade and investment partnerships with their Indian counterparts, and together with our colleagues at Scottish Development International, we are putting in place the measures to help Scottish companies develop these links.

“On the other hand we are also supporting the many Indian firms that already operate in Scotland to develop and grow their business there, and we want to encourage more Indian companies to start viewing Scotland as the ideal place to do business.”

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said:

“Tourism from India is worth around £15 million to Scotland and is one of the emerging markets with greatest growth potential. Engaging with travel agents, trade contacts and the media face to face in India will allow us to capitalise on this potential. Working in partnership with the industry we sell Scotland to the world, bringing millions of visitors and billions of pounds to the economy.

“Building on the success of previous sales missions to India, this week we’ll be hosting trade workshops with several Scottish businesses and collaborating to promote Scotland to influential travel agents and tour operators in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. It’s a tremendous opportunity to showcase Scotland on a world stage.”