Americans are being urged to buy Irish instead of Scottish whisky and travel to Ireland rather than Britain in order to protest Scotland’s release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi.
BoycottScotland.com has been set up to express outrage at the decision to send the bomber back to Libya on "compassionate grounds” because the 57-year-old has terminal cancer.
The Web site tells buyers to boycott Scotland unless it rescinds its decision to release al-Megrahi, who was serving a life sentence for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which killed 270 people, including 189 Americans.
The Web site says: "Don't travel to Scotland or do business there (or in the UK in general) and don't buy any British or Scottish products.”
Tourism and whisky account for billions of dollars of revenue for Scotland. The country exports billions of dollars in Scotch to the U.S. each year, and U.S. tourists are the biggest contributors to Scotland’s tourism industry, accounting for around 14 percent of foreign visitors.
BoycottScotland.com advocates opting for Irish whiskey and Irish travel instead. “Ireland has been advocated by many as the best alternative to those who regularly travel to and conduct business in Scotland,” it says.
“Many have advocated avoiding Scotch whisky and opting for American, Canadian, or Irish whiskies.”
British and Scottish companies reportedly “appreciate” the feeling behind the U.S. protests, but are rather unconcerned about the boycott’s negative effects.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has been monitoring the developments, but believes the protest will be short-lived.
SWA director Campbell Evans told the British Telegraph: "We have been faced with other boycotts in the past and found they haven't lasted. We appreciate what lies behind this action. In the heat of the moment it is understandable."
However, others expect the boycott to last longer, especially if British companies benefit from increased trade with Libya.