Scotland's First Minister Jack McConnell has unveiled plans to boost US visitor numbers to the country to half a million in five years.
Speaking during a visit to the US, McConnell said America was the most important overseas tourism market for Scotland, despite tourist numbers falling 15% in 2005 after the terror attacks in London.
McConnell said improved marketing was needed to offset the decline and set out a seven point plan to improve Scottish links with US businesses, students, workers and tourists in seven states - California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina and Texas.
He said: "I want to make sure Scotland is getting the most out of this relationship - to take it to a new level. This is a hard-edged strategy, not some warm words or loose language with a nice cover. We need to maximise gains from our engagement with USA."
The strategy also seeks to improve awareness and perception of Scotland, as a place to do business in.
VisitScotland spends £1 million on marketing itself in the US annually. It expects the US to generate around £250m a year in tourist income for Scotland by 2010.
By Emily Manson