Dunfermline is Ideal Candidate for Year of Homecoming
Local MSP Bill Walker has put Dunfermline forward as “an ideal candidate to host major Scottish cultural and historical events” in Scotland’s Year of Homecoming 2014.
The year-long event, previously hosted in 2009, celebrates Scotland’s history and capitalises on its diaspora by promoting local areas in order to boost tourism and economies.
On asking Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, whether she agreed that Dunfermline had an important role to play, he described the city as:
“Scotland’s ancient capital, the burial place of King Robert the Bruce, the location of the highly successful annual Bruce festival and the birthplace of Scotland’s greatest philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie”.
Ms Hyslop said Dunfermline had played a constructive role in previous Year of Homecoming activities and believed there would be “great opportunities to take that forward for 2014.”
She continued: “I am sure that members across the chamber will want to grab opportunities to promote their areas, to increase tourism and to grow their constituencies’ economies as a result of homecoming 2014.”
In response to Mr Walker’s question about the progress of the 2014 program, Ms Hyslop said the Scottish Government was working with a range of partners.
She added: “It is envisaged that the programme for 2014 will feature a number of major events, a regional programme across Scotland and a celebration of key anniversaries.”
Ms Hyslop countered former Tory leader Annabel Goldie’s claim that the 2009 Homecoming event had been disappointing and a “fiasco”:
“Some 71 per cent of tourism businesses stated that Homecoming 2009 was a positive initiative for Scotland, and 90 per cent of organisers who delivered events stated that they would want to take part in similar events in the future.”
Ms Hyslop added: “It is important that we build on the success of not just 2009, but the themed focus years. The year of food and drink helped to maximise the uptake and promotion of Scotland’s fantastic resources, and the year of active Scotland helped to promote the Highlands and other areas as destinations of choice for active holidays.
“We are now embracing the year of creative Scotland. That will culminate in another focus on ancestry after the year of natural Scotland next year.
“There are many positive things that we can do and we will ensure that we do them. We will work together collectively and build on the success of previous events.”
The 2014 date for the Year of Homecoming was announced in May 2010. That year will also mark Scotland hosting the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, in addition to being the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.
Mr Walker’s questions and Ms Hyslop’s responses can be read on the Scottish Parliament website under Parliamentary business: