On 1st August at Moy Field Sports Fair Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism attended a Reception to launch the Executive Summary of the PACEC Report on ‘Benefits and Volume and Value of Country Sports Tourism in Scotland’. The minister was joined at the Reception by representatives from the principal Groups promoting and supporting the Tourism and Country Sports sectors including Scottish Land and Estates, Visit Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage BASC (Scotland), Association of Deer Management Groups, Scottish Gamekeepers Association and Salmon and Trout Association.
The report shows Country sports tourists in Scotland spend £155m each year - which indicates Country Sports participants made 270,000 country sports trips within Scotland resulting in 910,000 visitor nights spent in Scotland in 2013.
The largest number of overnight stays came from England (six out of 10), Scotland providing around one in three, with the rest of the world the additional 10 per cent.
The report was produced by Cambridge-based Public and Corporate Economic Consultants (PACEC) for the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group
Speaking at the launch of the report, 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, said: “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.”
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.”
Almost 40 per cent of country sports providers have experienced an increase in business over the last five years. Generally, providers of Country Sports activities anticipate growth in participation and identify the stabilisation and growth in the economy as important, particularly in Europe.
However, freshwater fishing providers, although optimistic for the future, are concerned over environmental and human impacts on stocks of migratory fish, such as salmon.
The report also highlights the positive impact Country Sports makes to employment and skills development, particularly in rural areas. Country sports tourists and providers were overwhelmingly positive as regards the contribution their sport made to conservation and maintenance of the environment.
Country sports enthusiasts pursue their sport throughout the year. Freshwater fisheries offer sport for more than 200 days per year, mainly during the spring and summer months, whilst shooting sports providers attract their customers during late autumn and winter, helping to boost trade in the hospitality industry during normally quiet months.
To view the Executive Summary of the Report 'The Benefits and Volume and Value of Country Sports Tourism in Scotland' please click on the link below.