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Indicator 7: Visitor Economy

A review of delivery in the first three years of the plan (2018-21) has been carried out and you can read more in our main findings. This page looks at progress in year 1 of delivery (2018/19) only.

Table shows: 

  • Indicator of success – Overall value of the visitor economy.
  • Target – Increase from 2016 *STEAM baseline of £340m by 2023.
  • 2018/19 figure – 10.6% increase in 2017, 4.4% increase in 2018.
  • Performance – Above target

What does this tell us?

There has been a year-on-year increase in the overall value of our visitor economy since the 2016 baseline, with an increase of 10.6% between 2016 and 2017 and a further increase of 4.4% between 2017 and 2018. Please note that the findings for this indicator relate to the calendar year and information is available to report against two years since the baseline, namely 2017 and 2018.

The overall growth between 2016 and 2017 was an increase in day visitors. In 2017 to 2018 this increase in day visitors was sustained and we saw growth in overnight visitors. The 2018 increase includes unusually strong economic performance in the winter; it seems likely that this will settle again for 2019. The increase in the value of the visitor economy between 2016 and 2018 compares with a contraction of 1% in 2016 and modest growth of 1% in 2015, as shown in the graph below.

Self-catering accommodation is on the increase, and this includes growth in glamping, camping and touring. This is significant to note in light of efforts across the National Park to broaden out the accommodation offer. Spend in the food and drink sector continues to grow, perhaps showing the continued legacy of work undertaken during 2015’s Year of Food and Drink. It is also interesting to note that the recent baseline report against the National Outcomes includes that scenery and landscape and history and culture are the core motivators for overnight visits to Scotland. It states that 50% of all overnight visitors surveyed by VisitScotland indicated that scenery and landscape was a motivator behind their visit, rising to 71% for European visitors alone.

*Information on this indicator is collected through the Scottish Tourism Economic Activity Monitor (STEAM). Please note that the percentage increases for 2017 and 2018 have been adjusted for inflation. The target uses a historic figure as a baseline, this means the total figure for 2016 in the graph above has been adjusted to 2018 prices and so it appears different to the baseline cited in the target. The figure is also adjusted for changes in data inputs between 2016 and 2018 to allow comparability between years.

Case study: Festival 2018 Balloch, Loch Lomond

Congratulations on a very enjoyable and happy day on Saturday. I’ve not seen so many happy, smiling faces in Balloch for many a long year – and I go back 75 years in Balloch.

In 2018, Loch Lomond was the venue for the open water swimming championships during Glasgow’s hosting of the first ever European Championships. This created an opportunity for Balloch to develop a local cultural festival with funding and significant support from the larger Glasgow 2018 project.

The festival survey results show that 95% of respondents rated their level of enjoyment as high to very high, with over 84% stating that they would come back for a similar event. The festival proved particularly popular as a family day out, with businesses reporting a definite increase in customers and takings.

Contribution to National Outcomes

Progress on this indicator contributes to the following National Outcomes:

Contribution to Sustainable Development Goals

Progress on this indicator contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals:

Significant contribution

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