NICOLA Sturgeon yesterday launched the “biggest invitation ever to come work, live, study, invest, visit and do business with Scotland”.

For the first time, the Scottish Government, Visit Scotland, the Scottish Development International (SDI) and Universities Scotland have all agreed to pool their budgets for international marketing, launching a £6 million campaign to tempt “the high-spend tourists, the professional talent, students from around the world and of course, big investment from expanding international businesses”.

Under the branding, Scotland Is Now, the public sector organisations believe they can create a movement that will “tell the authentic story” of the country as a “bold and positive country, rich in history and heritage but forging forward in a way that is progressive, pioneering and inclusive.”

The new campaign is, the Government claims, primarily about boosting the economy and, ultimately, a bid to do no less than “transform Scotland’s place in the world”.

It comes as ministers admit that, despite strong assets like “world renowned universities,” “incredible history and landscapes, warm hospitality”, and a “high quality of life matched with affordable living,” they face fierce competition in attracting people to Scotland.

New Zealand has invested more than £77m “to grow awareness of it as the country of all things natural and pure”, while Norway has spent £54m on recent tourist campaigns.

Government notes accompanying the launch of the campaign state say Scotland punches above its weight internationally, but, “as our competitors step up their game and the uncertain world of migration, business, investment and travel evolves, one thing is for certain – Scotland needs to shift gear if it is to sustain, let alone grow, its international appeal and success”.

Scotland Is Now was launched simultaneously in North America, London, Glasgow and China.

The First Minister, who was in Shanghai yesterday, said: “The message at the heart of Scotland Is Now is of a bold and positive country offering the warmest of welcomes, rich in history and heritage and with a progressive, pioneering and inclusive approach to our future.

“The campaign will inspire people to be part of Scotland’s future and tell Scotland’s story through those who know it best, people who have embraced living, working, studying, visiting and investing here.”

The Government has enlisted a number of weel kent faces from the world of business, sport, culture and academia to be Scotland Is Now ambassadors, to help sell the the country abroad.

Stephanie Inglis, the Commonwealth Judo silver medalist, who almost died while working in Vietnam, is one of those to have been signed up.

In a moving short video for the campaign website she talks about how people here helped her recovery, and how family, friends and strangers donated a total of £327,892 to fly her home as she lay in a medically-induced coma with just a one per cent chance of survival.

She is featured, alongside Dured Alhalabe, a Syrian refugee who settled in Aberdeenshire in 2016, and who, in his film, talks about the friendly welcome he received.

Other ambassadors include Ravinder Dahiya, Professor of Electronics and Nanoengineering at the University of Glasgow, Josh Littlejohn, the founder of SocialBite, and Anna Freemantle, the creative director of the Edinburgh Fashion Festival.