Now, Scotland is entering the fray – not with scenes of tanned models on white beaches (this is Scotland, after all) – but with a poet.
Scotland's favorite son – Robert Burns (“Scots Wha Hae," “Auld Lang Syne”) – was born 250 years ago. So Scotland is calling its expatriates to come back and celebrate with a campaign called “Homecoming Scotland.”
Representing about 6 percent of the world's exports of goods and services, tourism is a significant contributor to economic growth. In Scotland, it is particularly important, representing 1 of every 12 jobs. This year looks particularly iffy for tourism worldwide.
This Sunday, Burns's birthday, kicks off the first of the big events with Burns Night, a celebration of poetry and Scotland's peculiarly named food – haggis and neaps (turnips) and so on.
It's the kind of night that could help brighten Scotland's economic gloom with memories of the days of Auld Lang Syne ("old long since" or "long, long ago").