New figures show that country sports visitors to Scotland spend £155milliion each year.
‘The Benefits and Volume and Value of Country Sports Tourism in Scotland’ report also shows country sport participants made 270,000 sporting trips to the country, which equated to 910,000 visitor nights in 2013. The report was produced by Cambridge-based Public and Corporate Economic Consultants (PACEC) for the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group.
Almost 40 per cent of country sports providers said they had seen increased business in the past five years, and although freshwater fishing providers expressed concern over environmental and human impacts on migratory fish stocks, most involved in the provision of country sports said the stabilisation of the economy would be important when it came to predicting future growth. However, both providers and participants were ‘overwhelmingly positive’ regarding the contribution to the environment that country sports had, and the report further highlighted the beneficial impact that country sports had on employment and skills.
Scotland’s tourism minister Fergus Ewing said, “Scotland has a global reputation as a prime destination for country sports, which occupies an important position within the wider tourism industry. I have attended the Moy Game Fair for many years, and am a great supporter of country sports, and the enormous contribution that they make to the rural economy and to tourism.
“In a competitive market, our country sports tourism sector offers the complete package fantastic scenery, coupled with great food and drink, and of course our traditional hospitality, all of which continues to make Scotland an attractive location for enthusiasts.
“This is the year that Scotland welcomes the world as part of our Homecoming celebrations, and those who work in our tourism industry deserve praise for the crucial role in helping to deliver a memorable visitor experience for Scotland’s guests.”
Sarah Troughton, chairwoman of the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group, added, “The report is an extremely useful source of information which will inform SCSTG’s strategic direction and highlight the value of country sports tourism to the Scottish economy and to conservation. SCSTG are extremely grateful for the support of Scottish Enterprise (SE) and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) in funding this work.”
While the news was positive overall, Dr Colin Shedden, of BASC Scotland, said, “This report identifies the reasons why Scotland remains such an important destination for country sports visitors, with the ‘Scottish experience’ and both privacy and exclusivity being highlighted by many. However, both shooters and anglers expressed some concern over the regulatory framework within which their sports had to currently be conducted. We need to do all we can to reduce red tape in this vital sector of tourism.”