The Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group (SCSTG) and the Gift of Grouse campaign highlighted the tourist contribution of Scotland’s country sports at a reception hosted by Edward Mountain, MSP, at the Scottish Parliament last night (Tuesday 20 Dec).
The audience included MSPs - including Maurice Golden, Peter Chapman, Murdo Fraser, Alexander Burnett, Liam Kerr and Rachel Hamilton, estate owners, gamekeepers, rural hotel and B&B owners, tourism groups and sporting agents.
The event was also supported by Fergus Ewing, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity who reaffirmed his support for the country sports industry and the important contribution it makes to the Scottish economy. Mr Ewing also spoke about the need for industry collaboration to ensure continued investment in rural development.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, expressed the organisation’s commitment to boosting Scotland’s country sports tourism sector and announced a matched Growth Fund of £18,000 to support SCSTG’s ambition and enhance its marketing strategy for 2017 as well as help progress its digital presence in international markets.
Emphasising the importance of country sports as part of Scotland’s natural heritage, Edward Mountain, MSP, spoke about the employment and financial benefits of the sector and what this means on a local level. He urged guests to be mindful of sporting estates’ expenditure that goes unnoticed such as property and vehicle maintenance, the cost of sporting equipment and investments into pensions for workers.
The SCSTG also launched this week its new ‘Game for Growth’ strategy which aims to increase the value of country sports to the Scottish economy by £30 million over the next three years – bringing the total to £185 million. Commenting on this, Sarah Troughton, Chair of the SCSTG, expressed her vision for Scotland as the global country sports tourism destination known for its sustainable, premium quality and diverse offering. Read the SCSTG strategy here.
The Gift of Grouse campaign highlighted the tourism benefits of the grouse season this year with an end of season round-up focusing on the enduring international appeal for Scottish country sports.
Regional Moorland Groups provided details on the number of visitors and subsequent overnight stays on grouse moor estates across the regions – the groups highlighted a total of 4,007 overnight stays throughout the 2016 shooting season.
Tim Baynes, Director of the Gift of Grouse campaign, explained that although the grouse shooting season has been mixed, this only served to reinforce the industry’s continued investment and careful moorland management which only helps to increase its allure for sporting tourists.
A copy of the county sport tourism press release which was issued this week (Monday19 Dec) is available on the Gift of Grouse website.