There has never been a Christmas where it has been more critical for the people of Tayside and Fife to support their local businesses.
That’s the message from the Scotland Loves Local campaign as it urges everyone across Courier Country to think local first for the festive shopping season, whether in person or online.
It is a rallying cry being championed by both Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) and VisitScotland to help the region’s businesses in a time of real need as they battle to overcome challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Whether it be vouchers for a local shop, a meal out or a getaway at a hotel or attraction close to home, they say the gift choices on offer have also never been stronger as people appreciate more of what’s on their doorstep.
STP chief officer Phil Prentice said: “Christmas is always an incredibly important time of year for local businesses of all kinds as they look to make the most of festive spending. But, given the challenges we have all faced during 2020, the need for us to show them our support has never been greater.
“By pledging to shop local and less global this Christmas, we can help them through a challenging winter while staying safe and following the Scottish Government’s FACTS advice.”
VisitScotland is using its popular website and social channels to showcase the vast range of gifts, products and experiences that people can enjoy on their doorsteps, including across Tayside and Fife.
Vicki Miller, director of marketing and digital at VisitScotland, said: “Tourism is a force for good, playing a part not just in providing jobs and economic benefits to every corner of Scotland, but also bringing benefits to wellbeing and society.
“Without accommodation providers, attractions, events, restaurants, bars or shops, many communities would cease to exist. They are the heartbeat of our villages, towns and cities and the reason visitors from around the world visit Scotland year after year.
“Buying gift vouchers, shopping online or on our high streets, dining out or booking a break on your doorstep; by loving local you are supporting communities during tough times and helping protect the places and businesses you, and many others, love to visit.”
Businesses which have shown great innovation across the region include the Bowhouse Market in Fife. It now allows people to pre-order and collect produce from its suppliers, from St Andrews fish merchants to Auchtertool butchers and Pittenweem chocolatiers, using the Bowhouse Link, which was formed during lockdown as an online ‘alternative market.’
Meanwhile, the Gin Bothy at Glamis has been running some virtual gin tasting events including Kim Cameron’s bothy songs. They have been attending some virtual markets to promote their gins. They do a gingerbread gin that takes its inspiration from nearby Kirriemuir’s Gingerbread, they’re doing some Covid-friendly in-person tastings at Glamis in December.
The will of people to support their local businesses, wherever they can, is clear with a poll commissioned by the Scotland Loves Local campaign finding that 60% of Scots agree it is important to them to do as much Christmas shopping as they can from their local high street, either in store or online, rather than going further afield
Mr Prentice added: “Money that’s spent locally stays local for longer. Thinking local first is something we can all do in order to help protect jobs and ensure these businesses continue to be there for us as part of building a stronger, more sustainable future for our communities.
“The greatest gift you can give your local businesses this Christmas is to support them.”