It’s easy to think of bagpipes, haggis, and kilts when one hears the name “Scotland”, but England’s northern neighbour has come a long way since it became a member of the United Kingdom in 1707. During the Industrial Revolution it became a manufacturing powerhouse, and one of the most powerful industrial cities in Europe. Today Scotland produces and exports not only some of its more traditional goods such as shortbread, but has also become a leader in the technology and service sectors.
Scotland has a vast supply of natural resources, including oil and gas reserves. As the world has become more and more interconnected, Scotland has seen a surge in demand for its whisky. The rise in demand for Scotch has created more than 35,000 jobs, and adds £4.25 billion to the UK economy each year.
As heavy industries have declined in the developed world, Scotland has switched to a geater focus on the services industry. Edinburgh is now the second largest financial centre in the UK. Scottish institutions such as the Bank of Scotland and TSB Bank have become major players in international finance. Several international finance groups are headquartered in Scotland, while maintaining global operations. Investment company Standard Life is one such institution, with head offices in Edinburgh.
The Scottish Highlands, Scotland
As the services industry has grown, tourism has become an ever more important contributor to its GDP. In 2013 US news network CNN named Scotland the top tourist destination for that year, citing is natural beauty and cultural festivals as reasons to travel there.