Follow VisitScotland

The competition ends but the journey continues

Press Release   •   Dec 19, 2017 09:01 GMT

VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: “While it is disappointing that Paisley has not been named the 2021 UK City of Culture, there is still much to be positive about. The bid has been an incredible experience for the town, highlighting its fantastic cultural offering, and bringing together its community.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the people who have worked tirelessly on the bid over the last two years. Team Paisley is a wonderful array of individuals, businesses and community members, united by a desire to transform the future of this historic town. Through their hard work and dedication this group have done themselves, Paisley and Scotland very proud.

“I’d imagine, like myself and many others across Scotland, the team are feeling slightly downhearted by Friday’s outcome. However, it’s important to remember that the bid was only ever part of a wider plan to use culture and heritage to develop the area. Through the bid, we have seen Paisley’s reputation transformed and the rest of Scotland, the UK and the world are turning round to take notice of its outstanding tourism offering.

“Paisley is a town close to my own heart. My Mother-in-law’s family originated from there and her Grandmother worked as a milliner, a key part of the town’s textile heritage. Also, the late, great Gerry Rafferty is one of my favourite artists. The saxophone solo on Baker Street is exceptional and hearing it reminds me of the wonderful music the area has produced over the years. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the town’s cultural output.

“Paisley offers a remarkable range of cultural events and the bid has helped establish the town as a key destination on Scotland’s events map. Supported this year by EventScotland, The Spree and Sma’ Shot/Weave Festival will continue to grow and we can look forward to top events like the British Pipe Band Championships and The Royal National Mòd. Through these events, Paisley can continue to build its reputation across the globe and play a key role in positioning Scotland as the perfect stage.

“The bid has inspired the town’s creative and cultural communities, with the diversity and strength of Paisley’s grassroots cultural scene showcased superbly over the last two years. This will have a lasting legacy through Renfrewshire’s £1 million Culture, Heritage and Events fund and we will see national organisations and artists of international standing come to Paisley to work with local groups and artists to enhance the cultural sector of the town.

“Inspiring over 34,000 people to come together and work to build a better Paisley, the bid for UK City of Culture 2021 has been an incredible journey for Scotland’s biggest town, full of energy, hard work and ScotSpirit! The area’s raised profile has given it a bigger stage than ever before to promote itself to the world and build a new visitor economy. This will cause a ripple effect, touching the industry and community in the area, creating employment and economic growth.

“VisitScotland works closely with communities and businesses to showcase the rich assets, hidden gems and local stories in every part of Scotland and we are very excited to working with Team Paisley to build on all the fantastic achievements of the last two years. The competition may be over, but for this special wee place in Renfrewshire, the journey has just begun.”


Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit or join the conversation at #HHA2017