Stirling has a castle but Falkirk has a wheel!

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Tourism bosses are not doing enough to promote Falkirk to potential visitors and are instead focusing on “honeypots” like Stirling Castle.

That was the view of councillors meeting to discuss the latest development plan drawn up by VisitScotland, a Scottish Government-funded quango which promotes the country at home and abroad.

Convener Adrian Mahoney said: “If we want to grow tourism in Scotland we need to look beyond the honeypots.

“I know council officers can feel frustrated when VisitScotland continues to use Stirling Castle to promote Forth Valley and not The Falkirk Wheel.

“The images used are always very scenic - but these places sell themselves.

“We need and deserve more recognition.”

Significant investment has taken place in recent years to encourage more visitors to the district.

In addition to The Falkirk Wheel, it is expected that the Helix project, due to be completed next year, will greatly increase the number of tourists to the area.

Members of the committee were discussing Falkirk Council’s official response to VisitScotland’s plans to grow tourism numbers by 2020.

They were told by officers that the quango had not discussed the plan with any local authority and had given little time for a response to be prepared.

Douglas Duff, head of economic development, said: “The key proposals seem to be based around locations with the largest existing concentrations of tourism activity.”

In a statement, Liz Buchanan, regional director for VisitScotland, said: “The contribution from local authorities on the draft the tourism development plan is vital, and VisitScotland will work closely with Falkirk Council beyond the original six-week window to support our partners in fully representing local priorities.

“VisitScotland and Falkirk partners have achieved a great deal for the area over the past year. We have financially supported the journey of the Kelpies maquettes to Chicago, promoted the Antonine Wall to millions around the world through our marketing campaign on Disney-Pixar’s Brave.

“We are particularly committed to reaping the benefits of the Year of Natural Scotland, and we are currently working with the council on an industry event to promote the launch of the Helix.”