THERE are “terrific opportunities” for young people in the tourism and food and drink industries, Scotland’s tourism minister has said.
Speaking to SLTN at the second day of the Scottish Tourism Alliance Signature Conference in Glasgow Fergus Ewing said the sector provides a range of career opportunities for the country’s young people.
“There are opportunities to progress up the ranks in hotels, in restaurants, in large food companies,” said Ewing.
“There are opportunities to gain more skills and the government works with industry in a number of ways to help the provision of skills. There’s a growing appreciation that the work of chefs is really important to Scotland in helping further to embed Scotland as a high quality destination for food and drink. It’s become more sexy if I may say so.
“So there are opportunities to advance.
“And it’s a people business. Those who are outgoing, friendly, welcoming, gregarious, who like people, who like to speak to people, converse with people, they kind of gravitate towards food and drink and tourism, I find. And some of the most cheerful people I’ve ever met are in various parts of this sector as a whole. So I think it’s a great sector for young people to go into.”
However, the tourism minister also stressed the importance of retaining overseas workers post-Brexit and said he was confident Scotland will be able to introduce a ‘Scottish Visa’, which would allow Scottish companies to recruit staff from overseas.
“Where there is a will there is a way in government,” he said. “That’s what I’ve found over the last 14 years. And at this particular time, whether it’s the care sector, the tourism sector and the food and drink sector, the processing sector, agriculture, we need people here from the Baltics, Spain, Romania, Poland, many other countries and beyond to continue to work in Scotland. We want them to do so and I do think right is on our side.”
Ewing was at the conference to announce a further £220,000 of funding to help promote Scotland’s food and drink businesses.
A new website will provide businesses with resources and information to help them promote themselves to tourists and grow their sales at home and overseas.
Ewing said: “The Scottish Government is committed to working side by side with industry to unlock the potential of this growing sector. Our tourism industry is of crucial importance to the Scottish economy and food and drink tourism poses exciting opportunities, particularly for rural communities.
“This funding will give food and drink businesses throughout the country access to online tools and resources to enable them to market their produce to visitors.”