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Simon King Welcomes Two Millionth Visitor to the Scottish Seabird Centre

Wildlife television presenter and film-maker, Simon King, is pictured with the two millionth visitor to the Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick, Gemma Cadden, age 8, visiting from Leamington Spa with her family. Simon King has been a keen supporter of the Seabird Centre since before it even opened and during his visit he spent time finding out about the latest developments at the Centre and appearing in the town’s  ‘Fringe by the Sea’ festival.

The world’s number one remote wildlife viewing visitor attraction, the Seabird Centre is a major tourism success story and a leading example of sustainable tourism in Scotland. Celebrating its 10th Birthday this year, the five star visitor attraction draws thousands of people to the attractive seaside town of North Berwick. It contributes over £2 million to the economy each year and has played a major part in the revival of the town as a popular tourist destination and desirable place to live.
The Seabird Centre has reported record visitor figures in recent years and, while figures for Edinburgh & Lothian visitor attractions showed a substantial decrease in visitor numbers during key holiday periods this year (for example April 2010, 12% downturn), the Seabird Centre performed well, showing an increase of 6% for the same period and this trend continues, with a 7.5% increase reported in July.

Tom Brock OBE, Chief Executive of the award-winning Scottish Seabird Centre comments, “It is a major achievement to have reached our milestone 2 millionth visitor in our 10th year. When we opened in 2000, wildlife tourism wasn’t valued as an important market in Scotland and original projections for the Centre were 60,000 visitors a year. The Centre is now a leader in an important sector – wildlife tourism is generating a net economic impact of around £65 million for Scotland’s economy. Viewing wildlife is the main driver behind over one million trips to Scotland every year – and over half of those are made by UK tourist, helping to support over 2,700 full time jobs.”

“We’ve come a long way in the last ten years and I’m delighted to report that we are now approaching 300,000 visits a year to the Centre and a million visits on our website www.seabird.org. We have provided consultancy for wildlife projects around the world and with the support of over 50 staff, 600 volunteers and 7,000 members, we have engaged with over 60,000 schoolchildren across Scotland and we have been extremely proud to receive 25 awards for sustainable development and tourism, with the ultimate accolade, The Queen’s Award for Enterprise, Sustainable Development, presented by HRH The Queen, in person at the Seabird Centre last year.”

“The fact I am most proud of, however, is that we have never faltered from our fundamental values. As an independent charity, we set out to create a sustainable wildlife attraction that would inspire people of all ages to appreciate and care for wildlife and the environment around them in a fun and exciting way, without disturbing the animals. We continue to create innovative ways of engaging with people of all ages to observe and conserve our marvellous wildlife. We were also keen to boost tourism and be a real benefit to our local community. We greatly look forward to the next ten years.”

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