Stephanie Billen reports on the early attempt to market 1990 to the travel trade.
Castles in the air'.’ The advent of Glasgow 1990. cultural capital of Europe. may seem remote to some. but at ()lympia‘s World Travel Market recently. the Greater Glasgow Tourist Board was valiantly trying to bring the prospect nearer with the aid of half a dozen posters. a pile of literature and a snowy white mock castle.
Spotting the castle was no problem. Bedccked with flags and tartan and with a prime location in the Grand Hall. the stand positively shrieked Scotland. Moreover. as the Scottish Tourist Board‘s Edward Holmes enthused. not only were they to be featured on 'I‘V‘s Il'is/i You We’re Here. but: "The World Travel Market has just awarded us for having the most effective stand personnel at the market. Above all. the judges found them very informative and with the traditional Scottish gift of welcome . . .‘ Indeed. despite having left his kilt behind on the day I spoke to him. Eddie himself was unmissibly welcoming in tartan jacket and a gaudy orange rosette awarded by the Travel Trade Gazette for ‘Most Visible PR Man'.
The problem for me. was that the desk representing Glasgow and all its forthcoming culture was if anything less eye-catching than desks promoting Edinburgh. Highland holidays and a host of other reasons to be cheerful in Scotland. I lay in wait for members ofthe travel industry to pause for more than two seconds by Glasgow. ‘I haven’t heard anything about Glasgow 1990.‘ admitted Jenny Ruler of Island Sun. But would walking past this stall make her think about it? ‘No. to be quite honest.‘ Another saw it as ‘onc big Scottish stand.‘ Kenneth Hendry. English representative of the German magazine Bus Tourist was more hopeful. ‘I think the message gets across slowly but surely as you walk
round. It‘ll get punchier as time goes on. but it wants to build up slowly.‘ And added editor Gerd-N’iels Wotzel: ‘Some of the other European towns left their publicity too late. It is very good that Glasgow presents the year 1990 in this year
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and not in the next one.‘ As ifto
prove the point. Liz Maclnnes. Director of ()perations for the Greater Glasgow Tourist Board and Convention Bureau told me: ‘We‘ve had a lot of interest from the travel trade wanting to put on new tours for I990 or thinking of stopping off in the city for one or two nights on the way up to the llighlands.‘
Maybe I'm just a sucker for theatricality. Ifonly I had attended the launch with Glaswegian native Gordon .Iackson and the young girls from the Ballet School. or seen the Highland dancers with their gifts of white heather on St Andrew‘s Day. As it was. it was all I could do not to desert the Scots altogether in favour of the English Ileritage's medieval players. or the Northern Ireland promotion — a traditional Guinness and Irish stew affair across the road in the Hand and Flower. Not to mention the attractions of a very animated cartoon. a Welsh dragon which could see me through the TV screen and advised me to set up a listings magazine in Cardiff.
I lappily. some extemely ‘visible' patchwork trousers drew me back to my assignment. Robert L. Duncan owner of the trousers and of Duncan's Travels Orlando. Florida. was in no doubt that the whole stand was ‘very well done‘ and that he‘d read about Glasgow 1990 in the Orlando Sentinel. ‘Yeah. the arts centre and the garden . . .er. . .‘ Festival? ‘Yeah. and I've probably read about it all in the US trade mags . . .‘ He had to be Scottish. he looked so at home in the castle grounds. ‘Well. I've lived in Orlando all my life but my ancestors were immigrants in the 1720s. John Duncan. he was killed in 1736 by the Indians in Tennessee . . .That‘s the Duncan tartan there on my knee. . .' (Stephanie Billen)
GLASNOSTIN GORDON STREET
Alan Taylor books his place in the queue for Glasgow’s new Waterstones.
The latest satellite of Waterstone‘s sprawling empire opened on 6th December in the renovated Ca D‘Oro building in Glasgow‘s
Gordon Street. Occupying two floors and kitted out in familiar malt—black. the new shop boasts 50.000 titles and 20 staff. All the usual Waterstone‘s innovative trappings are promised: a plethora of hardback novels. vin de table. muted Satchmo. author signings. chairs for the leg-weary and indigent readers. late and Sunday opening. and staff endowed with a full complement of marbles.
An ebullient Hazel Broadfoot. the shop‘s manager and a defector from the Edinburgh branch. is quick to damp down rumours of a bookshop war breaking out in Gordon Street. On the eve of the shop‘s opening she enthused not only about her ‘wonderl‘ul‘ emporium and the ‘wonderful’ selection of books on offer but also about the (wonderful?) staff of Hatchard‘s immediately opposite. ‘I‘m not so sure there‘s going to be a competition war‘. she said. ‘We‘ve had no water for a week and have been using Hatchard‘s toilet.”
Such camaraderie will be tested to the limit in the weeks leading up to Christmas and thereafter. Glaswegians now have the opportunity to choose not only between Waterstone‘s and llatchard‘s. but also between the renowned and venerable John Smith‘s in nearby St Vincent Street
and its stylish new imprint. Volumes.
in Queen Street. not to mention the
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spacious Sherratt and Hughes in Princes Square.
Some pundits say that saturation threatens but Glasgow has. until recently. been woefully under-bookshopped. Certainly
- at; ‘* there is no doom-talk from the combatants and most see competition as healthy and energising. although it's expected that Waterstone‘s will dent sales initially. But Barbara Campbell. the dynamic manager of I latchard's. shortly leaving the Culture City for Copenhagen. believes that there's 'no reason to be intimidated by Waterstone‘s.‘ In her book more means better higher standards of bookselling (but. alas. no price-cutting — yet) and the people poised to benefit are — no prizes for guessing — ‘Glaswegians‘. (AT)
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The List 9 — 22 December 1988 5