Investment in adventure tourism will help maintain Scotland’s reputation as a must-visit destination in the face of Brexit uncertainty, Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop has said.
Speaking at the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) Signature Conference in Glasgow, Ms Hyslop confirmed £200,000 funding for Forest Enterprise Scotland to undertake a feasibility study looking at developing the potential of the 7Stanes mountain biking sites across the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.
Ms Hyslop highlighted tourism priorities for the coming year, including promoting tourism as a career of choice, supporting the Borderlands Growth Deal through £85 million funding and working towards the Year of Coasts and Waters in 2020. A new tourism strategy will also be developed in partnership with the STA, and the Scottish Government will be working to ensure the UK Government’s Tourism Sector Deal meets the needs of industry.
Ms Hyslop said:
“The last year has been a period of unprecedented success for tourism in Scotland with international visitor numbers growing strongly and visitor attractions reporting record figures.
“The Scottish Government’s support for the industry has seen us invest in sustainable tourism through the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund, and provide funding for the promotion of the South of Scotland and Ayrshire as tourism destinations.
“We recognise that we cannot take this success for granted and that the UK Government’s proposed EU exit, coupled with rising costs both for businesses and individuals, is creating challenging conditions for this key industry.
“This is why it’s important to ensure Scotland is at the forefront of growing trends in tourism, and this £200,000 funding from the Scottish Government will help to support Scotland’s growing reputation in mountain biking and as a must-visit location for adventure tourism.
“By pursuing new opportunities and exploring ways of promoting tourism as a career, we are showing visitors at home and abroad that Scotland remains an open and welcoming nation.”
The Cabinet Secretary’s speech is available.
Scottish Government support for the industry includes:
• Maintaining the most generous package of non-domestic rates relief in the UK, worth over £750 million, including a cap on rates bills for hospitality businesses – potentially benefitting up to 2,750 properties in the industry
• Protecting VisitScotland’s marketing budget
• Promoting Scotland’s destinations including an additional £500,000 for VisitScotland’s South of Scotland marketing campaign and £300,000 for marketing in Ayrshire
• Providing £3.6 million to 21 projects through the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund
• Providing funding for the Andrew Fairlie Scholarship for young chefs