Adventurous Enterprise

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Tourism has long been a cornerstone of the Scottish economy – generating £6bn in the last year. This year’s good weather and low pound are projected to boost that even further. One of the fastest growing sectors in recent years across the industry worldwide has been adventure tourism, and with Scotland’s coastline, mountains and rivers it comes as no surprise that this growth is being mirrored here.

According to HIE’s Adventure Tourism in Scotland Research Report – there were at least 350 Adventure Tourism businesses operating in Scotland in 2015. More than a third of adventure tourism businesses were located in the Highland Council area, followed by 12% in Argyll and Bute and 8% in Perth and Kinross. 84% of businesses described themselves as activity and experience providers, with the remainder identifying as activity centres and attractions.

Cross sector collaboration initiatives can play an important role in developing the adventure tourism
market. Sectors such as retail and transport benefit from the tourism industry through improved infrastructure, increased footfall and repeat custom, while accommodation providers can work in tandem with adventure tourism organisations in the area to create a better-quality tourist offer to entice visitors to the area. Collaboration between social enterprise, private business and the public sector is key to increasing the quality of tourist offer available, however more could be done between social enterprise projects and with the wider tourism industry.

The Tourism Scotland 2020 strategy aims to grow Scotland’s visitor spend by £1bn in real terms, from
£4.5bn in 2011 to £5.5bn by 2020. To achieve this, the strategy has identified three key growth markets to make up the backbone of tourism revenue by 2020;

  • Home turf:
    £3,127m in 2011
    Potential £3,586m–£4,238m in 2020
    England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales.
  • Near neighbours:
    £731m in 2011
    Potential £875m–£1,035m in 2020
    Scandinavia, Germany, France, Spain, Ireland,
    Netherlands, Italy.
  • Distant cousins:
    £414m in 2011
    Potential £505m–£598m in 2020
    USA, Australia, Canada.

Adventure tourism is identified as an area which offers “significant potential for growth” within the strategy. Collaboration between local businesses in rural destinations is key to developing a tourism offer which can engineer economic growth – local assets such as hill walking and cycling can be integrated with culture, local history, food and drink to create immersive tourism packages which better reflect the local area.

Want to find out more, have a look at the Senscot briefing, makes interesting reading; https://senscot.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Adventure-Tourism-Briefing.pdf

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