New guide launched to help tourists find foodie experiences across Ayrshire

Food and drink is a big draw for tourists to the Ayrshire region
-Credit: (Image: Gloucestershire Echo)


A new guide has been launched to help businesses across Ayrshire and Arran make the most of a growing demand for Scotland’s culinary experiences.

It comes as new research by the national tourism organisation found that over a third (34 per cent) of visitors to the region took part in a food and drink experience as part of their trip. This included visiting a farm shop or farmers market, fine dining or attending a festival.

The Scotland Visitor Survey 2023 aims to help understand why visitors take a holiday or short break in Scotland and how they rate their experiences when here.

The findings revealed that almost half of visitors (46 per cent) to Scotland took part in at least one food and drink activity (in addition to eating out) during their trip last year, with nearly a fifth (19 per cent) of long-haul visitors now naming food and drink as the reason for choosing Scotland as a destination.

To help local businesses capitalise on this trend, VisitScotland, in partnership with Scotland Food & Drink, has created a free industry guide.

Hosted on VisitScotland.org, the online guide contains information to ensure that businesses can cater for the interests and expectations of their visitors.

Included as part of the free guide is:

  • Practical advice on how businesses can create a quality food and drink tourism experience

  • Market insight from Scotland Food & Drink and the VisitScotland Scotland Visitor Survey 2023

  • Marketing advice – from creating social media content and working with influencers to collaborating with other businesses

  • Local produce sourcing guidance – how to source and use more local produce and promote Scottish ingredients

  • Case studies – of businesses from across the country who have built a successful food and drink tourism experience, from creating an immersive dining experience to foraging tours and outdoor cooking

  • Useful resources - including upskilling and funding opportunities

Lynsey Eckford, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “Scotland’s reputation for food and drink is exceptional and Ayrshire & Arran is home to a diverse range of culinary delights, from distilleries and farm shops, to top of the range restaurants and artisanal cafes.

Lynsey Eckford, VisitScotland Regional Director
Lynsey Eckford, VisitScotland Regional Director -Credit:VisitScotland

“We know that promoting food and drink is a recipe for success and this free resource on our VisitScotland.org website will provide a clear and practical guide to help industry understand how to make the most of this growing demand for food and drink experiences.

“With particular demand for locally produced food and drink, developing this tourism offer can benefit those in the wider supply chain supporting communities and the economy as well as our own responsible tourism ambitions.”

Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food at Scotland Food & Drink said: “Scotland’s food tourism allure is undeniable, and our visitors are hungry for the authentic food and drink experiences available in every corner of the country.

“As the demand for food and drink experiences surges, our new industry guide will allow businesses to seize the opportunity to tap into this lucrative market. From practical advice on crafting quality experiences to marketing insights and local produce sourcing guidance, this guide equips businesses to serve up unforgettable experiences and showcase Scotland’s food and drink to the world.”

For more information about food tourism or to access VisitScotland’s industry guide, visit: https://www.visitscotland.org/supporting-your-business/visitor-experience/food-tourism-industry

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