People, Travel

Scottish Tourism Worth $14b

More than one in 10 jobs were also found to be in tourism in Highland, South Ayrshire and Orkney.More than one in 10 jobs were also found to be in tourism in Highland, South Ayrshire and Orkney.

Scottish tourism is worth more than £11 billion ($14.1 billion) to the economy, according to a new assessment carried out by VisitScotland.

The tourism body has calculated the value of direct and indirect spending, concluding that it represents 4.5% of the Scottish economy, BBC News reported.

The new analysis is intended to show how tourism compares with other key growth sectors. Those sectors include finance, energy and life sciences.

A paper, which is being prepared by the government's tourism development agency, says current thinking fails to capture the full value of visitor spending.

Including day visits to tourist attractions, the agency calculates direct spending amounts to £8.9 billion.

The additional spending comes from indirect spending, as money circulates through the supply chain of goods and services.

The analysis concedes that the industry's productivity is the lowest of the six sectors targeted for growth by the Scottish government's economic strategy.

But it compares well as a source of employment and has a large number of small firms. In 2015, it is reckoned there were nearly 14,000 enterprises in tourism, representing one in 12 Scottish firms.

The data also point to the spread of those jobs around the country. The council areas that rely most heavily on tourism jobs include Argyll and Bute, with 17% of jobs related to the sector.

More than one in 10 jobs were also found to be in tourism in Highland, South Ayrshire and Orkney.

Of the 217,000 tourism jobs across Scotland in 2015, nearly half were in five council areas; Edinburgh, Glasgow, Highland, Aberdeen and Fife. In an interview with BBC Radio Scotland, VisitScotland chief executive, Malcolm Roughead, responded to concerns that some areas are suffering from excessive pressure at the peak of the summer season.

He said planning needed to take account of visitor numbers at an earlier stage and that numbers needed to be managed and spread through the year, rather than capped or reduced.

In Skye, for instance, he welcomed ideas from local people for shuttle buses to the most popular remote destinations, reducing traffic flow.

Roughead said the North Coast 500 road trip, which has been a major marketing success, is being followed with coordinated efforts to improve infrastructure and encourage investment.

Having placed digital strategy at the heart of the sector's drive for growth, Roughead said half the tourism businesses on the VisitScotland website do not transact online and with 65% of tourism transactions globally done online, they are missing an opportunity.


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