(PLease see UPDATE at end)
thought this might be a wind-up when I first caught the summary of this story in my Bloglines feed from the BBC website, but when I read the underlying report I can certainly see the logic and maybe it might even happen. It is certainly true that when I worked in Hong Kong many years ago one of my friends and colleagues, a Hong Kong Chinese, was completely infatuated by all things Scottish (not whisky though, because he was almost wholly tee-total) and was obsessed - and I don't think I exaggerate - with finding some plausible [or not] Scottish connection that he could latch on to and in particular he wanted me to try and find a tartan that he could use, so one summer whilst I was back in Scotland I did some research and found that his family name was quite similar to a Scottish name and that it was a sept of the Scottish Clan MacPherson, so I got him a tie of a MacPherson tartan and he was aboslutely over the moon with it. I can well believe, therefore, that there will be a worthwhile number of Chinese with the means and desire to take a visit to what some might see as, in a weird kind of way, their spiritual homeland, even if the 'spiritual' connection is merely a taste for our national product 'whisky'! Funnily enough, I happen to know the person quoted in the article and he is certainly no foolish romantic, simply someone trying to boost the tourism prospects of the Highlands through practical action, particularly when visitors from some other countries (such as the US or Canada) may currently be in decline because of currency and economic fluctuations.
UPDATE: (Saturday 13SEP08 0820 BST) There's a fuller article on this proposal in yesterday's Inverness Courier which addresses some of the issues covered in the comments to this article.