Scottish tourism is the focus of a viral meme which has been shared thousands of times across the world in recent months.

The claim, which has been shared on Twitter, Instagram, Reddit and Facebook, humorously suggests that the Scottish Government spent a large sum of money on a new slogan for Scotland, but came up with something fairly obvious.

Ferret Fact Service looked at this claim and found it to be Mostly False.


The claim is based on a real change to Scotland’s tourism logo, which did take place in 2007.

Scotland’s then-First Minister, Alex Salmond, had criticised the previous slogan ‘The Best Small Country in the World’ which was launched in 2005 by the previous administration, headed by Jack McConnell.

When the previous tagline was shelved, a spokesperson for Salmond said: “We never saw the need to have a qualifier. Why not just aspire to be the best country in the world?”

The new campaign did use the slogan “Welcome to Scotland” which was placed at entry points to the country, including airports.

So far, the claim is correct. However, the amount of money spent on coming up with the slogan is misleading.

A number of contemporary news reports, including The Times and Daily Record, claimed that the slogan had cost £125,000. But it appears that the slogan itself was not the primary cause of the £125,000, but the physical advertising campaign in which it was used.

In response to a question on the cost of the slogan in the Scottish Parliament, the tourism minister Linda Fabiani said: “No money was used to develop the ‘Welcome to Scotland’ message”.

The main cost of the new campaign was “design, printing and installation” of advertising which was placed at airports around Scotland. The minister confirmed this cost £125,000 from existing budgets.

£125,000 equates to $156,656 at the current exchange rate, but did equate to around $162,972 when the claim was published on Twitter by Uber Facts on 7 April 2019. However, at the point when the figure was revealed in November 2007, it would have been worth more that $250,000. The assertion that it was spent on creating the ‘Welcome to Scotland’ wording is not accurate.

Ferret Fact Service verdict: Mostly False

While ‘Welcome to Scotland’ was used as part of an advertising campaign, the viral claim about the cost for the slogan is misleading. Around £125,000 was used for design and installation of advertising which was placed at airports around Scotland. It was not the cost of designing the slogan alone.

This claim is Mostly False

Mostly False – The claim may contain a kernel of truth but leaves out facts which lead one to a different impression.

Ferret Fact Service (FFS) is a non-partisan fact checker, working to the International Fact-Checking Network fact-checkers’ code of principles. All the sources used in our checks are publicly available and the FFS fact-checking methodology can be viewed here. Want to suggest a fact check? Email us at or join our Facebook group.

Photo thanks to P L Chadwick, CC BY-SA 2.0

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