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Adventure Tourism is High Value, High Growth, Sustainable Tourism

The Scottish wildlife & adventure tourism association

The Scottish wildlife & adventure tourism association

Adventure tourism companies from across Scotland are meeting in Perth on Tuesday (6th December) to plan the future of the sector in Scotland. They are meeting at Wild Scotland, the Scottish wildlife and adventure tourism association’s annual conference where this year’s theme is ‘Your Business, Our Future’.

Despite the economic uncertainty, figures released by Wild Scotland at the event suggest that many adventure tourism businesses have faired well in 2011. Thirty eight percent of their members said that business was better in 2011 than in 2010, up 12% on the previous year. Although many are seeing more visitors, particularly Europeans, many are still worried about the effect that higher energy prices and VAT levels are having on their operating costs.

The news comes during the Scottish Government’s Year of Active Scotland and follows Wild Scotland’s recent merger with Activity Scotland to become the Scottish wildlife and adventure tourism association, the main trade association for the nature-based tourism sector.

A report published by Scottish Natural Heritage in 2010 valued nature-based tourism at £1.4billion and supporting 39,000 jobs in Scotland. The definition of nature-based tourism included wildlife watching, field sports, walking/mountaineering, snow sports, cycling, water sports, horse riding, hard-adventure activities, conservation work, other specialist interests, all of which are now covered within Wild Scotland’s membership.

Ben Mardall, Chair of Wild Scotland comments:

“Adventure means different things to different people. It is not just about high adrenaline sports. For many a walk in the hills or whale-watching is an adventure and in Scotland we can provide all of this and much more. As the adventure tourism sector grows, we have the opportunity to ensure that the sector benefits Scotland, not just the businesses, but the local communities and the environment as well”.

Paul Easto, Chief Executive of award-winning Scottish adventure travel company, Wilderness Scotland who is speaking at the conference comments:

“We need to overcome the thinking that adventure tourism is a niche activity. Enjoying Scotland’s fantastic natural environment is a ‘must’ for most Scottish visitors. Adventure tourism is high value, high growth, sustainable tourism and if Scotland is to compete on an international stage then we, the industry need to recognise that our competition is not down the road but overseas and work together to deliver one vision”.

The conference is the only national industry event for the nature-based tourism sector. The themes of the day will be Innovate, Inspire & Excite, Respect, and Community, and speaking at the conference are:

  • Chris Tiso, Chief Executive of The Tiso Group
  • Paul Easto, Chief Executive of Wilderness Scotland
  • Andrea Nicholas, Managing Direcotr of the Green Tourism Business Scheme
  • Guy Grieve, outdoorsman and owner of The Ethical Shellfish Company.

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