First Minister trip to USA for Tartan Week: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/17/01477
Date received: 28 June 2017
Date responded: 6 July 2017

Information requested

Details for FM and entourage ie.cost to the taxpayer - First Ministers trip to USA for Tartan week.


The First Minister visited the United States between the 2nd and 7th April attending events and meetings in California and New York.

The visit focused on promoting trade and investment, boosting tourism, sharing best practice across the public and private sector and promoting Scottish innovation, entrepreneurship and culture.

The relationship between Scotland and America is an important one with deep and long-standing ties reflected by the strong economic, cultural and personal links of our citizens. The US is Scotland's top source of inward investment, accounting for 36% of projects and is Scotland's second largest export partner - worth £4.56 billion or 15.9% of all international exports.

During the First Minister's visit she made the following announcements in relation to investment, tourism and policy:

US visit investment announcements

  • US tech firm Xilinx Inc. is to invest £3.8 million in its specialist research centre in Edinburgh creating 12 new jobs and protecting 30 existing jobs.

  • Spiritus Partners Limited, ION Geophysical Corporation and PPS UK are investing £6.3 million in Scotland, creating or safeguarding 44 jobs in the data analytics and life sciences sectors.

  • Par Equity opened first office in the US launching $125 million fund, focused on health technology. The firm will support Scottish companies to expand into the US.

  • Scottish food and drink companies have secured £8m of export sales to North America further contributing to a market worth £1 billion in 2016 to Scotland.

Tourism announcements

  • Marriott International have committed to create 7 new hotels and 1,400 new rooms in Scotland by 2021 and reinforcing Scotland's key tourism investment and visitor attraction strengths.

  • A European-first collaboration between VisitScotland and TripAdvisor will see Scotland's world-class tourism offering promoted to almost 70 million new potential visitors, generating a potential additional spend of £150 million.

Policy announcements

  • Signed a Cooperation Agreement on Climate Change with California Governor Jerry Brown.

  • Announced £1.2m funding to train more than 200 women from conflict zones around the world on peacekeeping and conflict resolution during a talk on gender issues at the UN.

  • Funding for Investing Women, a Scottish social enterprise which supports women-led businesses has been doubled to £120,000.

For more detailed information on the First Minister's visit can be found in the answer to the Parliamentary question S5W-08856 of 20 April 2017 see: (

Travel and subsistence costs relating to the First Minister and 7 officials are as follows.

Total Flight Costs Total Accommodation Costs Subsistence Costs
First Minister £7053.95 £1426.03 £0
Accompanying Officials (7) £15,502.13 £7145.45 £2045.85

The total cost of the in country car travel for the First Minister and accompanying staff was £7494.73

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Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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