Outdoor Scotland Tourism Strategy

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There is increasing recognition of the value of the outdoors to the Scottish economy and the role it plays in supporting sustainable economic growth by creating employment, sustaining tourism spend and enhancing the profile of Scotland through the promotion of its natural landscape and scenery.

The Outdoors Scotland Tourism Strategy is an initiative led by Wild Scotland and Sail Scotland (project partners) to champion a collaborative approach for the sector to drive Scotland forward as a leading outdoors tourism destination for sustainable, and environmentally focussed marine, outdoor and wildlife activities aligned to the STERG National Action Plan and Scotland Outlook 2030 National Tourism Strategy.

Marine, outdoor and wildlife activities provide the backdrop to Scotland’s experience proposition and for the Outdoors Scotland Tourism Strategy are defined as:

“An authentic and memorable experience involving visitors actively engaging with nature and culture and connecting with the outdoors. It is any outdoor activity or journey that takes place in a natural land or marine environment. Its about outdoor experiences that are unique and individual for each visitor, matching their interests, providing a sense of personal achievement and creating their own lasting memories”.

Strategic Review

BTS, 56 Degree Insight, Lochaber Chamber of Commerce and 56 White Stag Tourism have been commissioned by Sail Scotland and Wild Scotland to develop an Outdoors Tourism Strategy for Scotland. The Project aim is to set in motion the full realisation of the potential of the Scotland’s Outdoor Tourism sector and to identify the way forward and precise actions to support the sectors funding, marketing and development plans.

The Approach

A three-stage process is being adopted to deliver the strategy and action plan:

Scotland’s Place in the Market:

  • Desk research of the complex weave of local, regional, national and international policies, strategies and delivery plans and to draw out and make sense of these, drawing on best practice and locally determined priorities.

  • Added to this is primary research with UK consumers and International Travel Trade and Tour Operators to fully understand where Scotland is currently positioned, determine the most important markets for Scotland as an outdoor tourism destination and provide new insights which would address knowledge gaps relating to Scotland’s Outdoor Tourism market.

  • To fully understand Scotland’s Outdoor Tourism offer and product we will undertake a detailed product audit (supply) of Outdoor Tourism in Scotland creating a comprehensive database of outdoor tourism operators in Scotland to determine their capacity and maturity to attract and contribute to the visitors’ quality experiences. This will inform the market positioning of Outdoor Tourism in Scotland and to build a robust understanding of the size and scale of the Outdoor Tourism Industry in Scotland.

Industry Engagement and Consultations

  • An extensive consultative programme, comprised of a series of interviews with key stakeholders and operators, engaging with the Outdoor Education sector, an electronic survey of tourism operators and a series of facilitated regional workshops to feedback to the industry key findings and to gather views of participants to feed into the final strategy.

Strategy and Action Plan

  • The final stage focuses on analysing the data accumulated to prepare a market driven, consumer led Strategy, designed to guide strategic decisions with overarching objectives, and specific outcomes. The action plan will translate the strategy into deliverables and key actions.

Project Timing

The project commenced in August 2021 with completion towards the end of February 2022.

Project Partners

The Outdoors Scotland Tourism Strategy is an initiative led by Wild Scotland and Sail Scotland (project partners) to champion a collaborative approach for the sector to drive Scotland forward as a leading outdoors tourism destination for sustainable, and environmentally focussed marine and outdoor activities aligned to Scotland’s Outlook 2030.