Royal Highland Show organisers are hoping to host a normal, full-scale event in 2022 if Covid-19 restrictions allow them to do so.
The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland’s (RHASS) chief executive, Alan Laidlaw, made the comments in a press briefing following the society’s seven-day Royal Highland Showcase.
The live-streamed event, which took place at the society’s showground at Ingliston, near Edinburgh, featured livestock and equestrian judging, sheep shearing, forestry demonstrations and industry talks.
It was organised in lieu of the Royal Highland Show, which was cancelled for the second year in a row due to Covid-19 restrictions, and backed by £750,000 support from the Scottish Government.
Mr Laidlaw said the Showcase had been a huge success and the society had high hopes of hosting a normal, full-scale event, along with elements of live-streaming from its Showcase, next year.
“We have learnt a lot about dealing with restrictions but we are planning a full show for next year,” added Mr Laidlaw.
“We will plan for as much as we can, but know that these plans can change.”
He said the society was in a better financial position that it had anticipated – it has previously warned of a big hole in its finances following the cancellation of its flagship event – and the Showcase would be a break-even event.
RHASS chairman, Bill Gray, said the Showcase had been a huge success with 270,000 people logging in to watch from 87 countries including Norway, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and the Philippines.
He said: “Our aim was to connect and entertain our communities and, in the process, shine a light on our food producers, farmers and our ways of life.
“We have achieved this with people from almost 90 countries across the globe tuning in, and with the content online for a further three months, there is even more of an opportunity to reach a wider audience.”
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon, who visited the Ingliston showground for the closed-doors event, said: “The Royal Highland Showcase marks a step change for the Royal Highland Show and Scottish agriculture.
“Through the new website and online videos, people, farms and businesses across the world were able to experience Scottish agriculture and food and drink.”