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Ancestral tourism needs to dig deep

MORE than four million people want to come to Scotland to find out more about their roots but the country is not equipped to meet their needs, an expert has warned.

The booming interest in geneology could be worth £2.4 billion to Scotland over the next five years.

It is estimated more than 50 million people globally can claim Scottish forebears, and according to tourism agency Visit Scotland about 10 million are interested in finding out more about their past.

It estimates almost half (43%) of them plan to visit Scotland for this reason in the next two years.

Now two new training courses have become available online courtesy of ancestral tourism consultant and author Cameron Taylor, who says he has identified two areas of need to help people coming on the trail of their ancestors.

The first, he says, is for museums, archives and other attractions to gain an understanding of ancestral tourism, and to plan how best to meet the needs of homecomers. The second is for individuals to be given guidance about how to plan a homecoming journey.

Information is available at www.ancestralresearch.org, in courses developed in partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands.

A VisitScotland spokesman said: "It is important that we continue to work together to ensure those coming to Scotland to research their and ancestry have the time of their life."

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