VisitScotland unconcerned by 'boycott Scotland' campaign

Scottish tourism authorities remain unconcerned by a campaign hoping to persuade US tourists to boycott Scotland.

The campaign has been launched following the release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi.

The only man to be convicted of the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 that killed 270 people, many of whom were American tourists, al-Megrahi was released last week to return to his home in Libya.

The Scottish government said the decision was made on compassionate grounds following claims that al-Megrahi has less than three months left to live having contracted terminal cancer.

However, the decision has been met with outrage and condemnation from many quarters. President Obama and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill's decision to release al-Megrahi.

The website boycottscotland.com has also now been set up, claiming: "The actions of the Scottish government are inexcusable.

"A man who is responsible for the mass murder of 270 innocent civilians must be held accountable for such a cold-blooded and ruthless act."

It adds: "Americans need to respond to this outrageous miscarriage of justice and betrayal of the victims' families, who were mostly fellow Americans, by refusing to spend their tourist dollars in Scotland and avoiding any kind of business there.

"Boycotting is the only way to send a clear and direct message to both the Scottish and British governments that Americans will not tolerate such a flagrant betrayal."

The US remains the single biggest-spending market for Scotland with £260 million spent by Americans, who made 340,000 trips last year. This accounts for 21% of the total overseas tourist spend.

A VisitScotland spokeswoman said the tourism board had received no information about Americans cancelling trips to Scotland following the launch of the boycott.

She added: "The strong and enduring relationship between Scotland and the US will continue, as will the friendship between the American and Scottish people.

"Our priority is ensuring that American visitors and tourists are extended a very warm welcome to Scotland."

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