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Global chance to showcase Scotland is good for business too

Scotland is standing at the front of the global stage this summer, thanks to the independence debate and the Commonwealth Games.

Some of the coverage of Scotland is predictable, including Hielan' coos and William Wallace. But the general rolling montage is more subtle, and arguably more effective, and it is inspiring a worldwide audience as well as one closer to home.

An estimated global TV audience of 500million watched the Scottish Open in Aberdeen earlier this month and it was an incredible advertisement for what our country has to offer.

Royal Aberdeen is literally a Rory McIlroy drive (that is, about 350 yards) from our offices here at the Chamber, and taking part in this golfing extravaganza as it descended on the city was an opportunity to experience first-hand the enthusiasm and dedication of golfers and spectators alike.

The lift in our global profile from hosting the event cannot be underestimated, especially the effect in the US, which is a major trading partner and the largest international market for the oil and gas industry in Scotland.

The Scottish Open is thought to have brought over £6million to Aberdeen's economy over the four days, and the Scottish Government estimates that the country's golf industry is worth £1.1billion a year to the national economy.

Over £100million is expected to be generated by the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September alone.

With every sweeping coastal shot, every close-up of a lush rolling green, every view that pans across the warm and friendly welcome from the crowds, it is reinforcing the message that our country is a great place to be — to visit and to live.

A thriving tourism sector is an important driver to the Scottish economy. It contributes an estimated £4.6billion per year and is intertwined with industry, through "business tourism", and industries such as food and drink and culture.

The world sees us as the home of golf, we have first-class courses that are challenging and rewarding, sometimes in equal measures, and outstanding attractions for visitors to get the full flavour of Scotland.

But we ourselves often take our beautiful country for granted and don't take the time to appreciate its unique character.

In this second year of Homecoming, Scotland has indeed "welcomed the world", but this is not a one-off event and this is not just for international visitors.

We should all be getting out there and appreciating what our country has to offer.

By doing this, we can support local businesses, secure local employment and be ambassadors ourselves.

We should remember that on this global stage we are not just part of the audience, we are part of the cast.

Gordon Prentice is finance and administration director at Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

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