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The Economic Impact of Wildlife Tourism in Scotland

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5 ECONOMIC IMPACT ASSESSMENT

5.1 The economic impact assessment draws upon a variety of sources, including official published statistics and the results from the quantitative surveys described in Annex 1.

5.2 The assessment provides estimates of both the gross economic contribution and the net economic impact of wildlife tourism in Scotland. This includes provision of estimates in total as well as:

  • for terrestrial, coastal and marine based wildlife tourism;
  • by region.

5.3 This requires a number of steps to be completed:

1. estimation of overall wildlife tourism values, in terms of number of visitors and their expenditure;

  • estimation of the regional structure of these totals;
  • estimation of these totals for terrestrial, coastal and marine wildlife tourism;
  • estimation of the seasonal component of these wildlife tourism values;

2. calculation of how these value estimates translate into gross economic contribution of wildlife tourism to the economy of Scotland and to regional economies;

3. estimation of the net economic impact derived from wildlife tourism.

Measuring Tourism Demand for Wildlife

5.4 An important aspect of the definition of wildlife tourism is that the primary purpose of a trip must be to view, study or enjoy wildlife. The surveys used here directly ask respondents what their main reason for visiting is, with wildlife being one of seven options (as well as an additional option enabling respondents to write a reason). Because there is a close relationship between countryside and wildlife, respondents who also chose the option of visiting the countryside as their main reason were classified as wildlife tourists if they also answered a latter question indicating that one or more forms of wildlife were essential or very important for their trip.

5.5 Assessments of this nature often rely on a survey to provide an assessment of the percentage of tourists who fall into a certain category, such as wildlife tourists, with that percentage then being grossed up by using published official statistics on the number (and spending) of all tourists. In this regard, the UKTS data for 2008 is used to gross up domestic [overnight] tourism. For each purpose of visit (leisure, visiting friends and relatives, business and other), survey respondents are given a weight so that the weighted total of all respondents matches the numbers of trips by purpose of visit in the UKTS data for 2008. This is identical to calculating the proportion of tourists in each purpose of visit category who are wildlife tourists, and applying these percentages to the UKTS totals by purpose of visit.

5.6 Total numbers of leisure day visitors are however unknown, with the 2002-3 GB Leisure Day Visits Survey ( GBLDVS) providing a dated, and unreliable, estimate. A grossing up procedure based on estimates of the proportion of leisure day visitors motivated by wildlife cannot therefore be used.

5.7 The methodology used here aims to provide an unbiased estimate of the number of domestic tourists who are motivated primarily by wildlife through a postal survey of UK residents who have previously taken an overnight trip to Scotland. This gives, within the bounds of confidence intervals due to sample sizes, a reliable estimate of domestic wildlife tourism in terms of trips, nights and expenditure.

5.8 The assessment then takes results from a survey conducted at wildlife sites around Scotland to determine the ratio of wildlife day visitors to wildlife domestic tourists. This is used to calculate the number of wildlife day visitors and their expenditure. It is important to note that the exact same questions relating to wildlife as a motivation were asked in this survey as in the postal survey, so only those day visitors and domestic tourists who are classified as being primarily motivated by wildlife (through the above definition) are included in these calculations.

5.9 A similar assessment of the number of, and expenditure by, overseas wildlife tourists is made through reference to operators' visitor numbers from overseas and domestic tourists.

Market Size

5.10 Calculations from the survey results at the national level are summarised in Table 1. Calculations are made for trips, nights and spend in the following steps:

1. The proportion of domestic tourists who are primarily motivated by wildlife is taken from the results from the postal survey. Wildlife tourists stay longer than average and spend more per night, resulting in higher proportions of spending and nights than trips being accounted for as primarily motivated by wildlife.

2. Statistics from UKTS for 2008 on domestic tourism to Scotland are used.

3. The values for trips, nights and spending by wildlife tourists are calculated by multiplying the results of step 1 by the results of step 2.

4. The ratio of wildlife day visitors to wildlife domestic tourists is taken from the onsite survey.

5. Values for wildlife day visitors' trips and spending are calculated by multiplying the results of steps 3 and 4.

6. The ratio of overseas visits to domestic tourists is taken from the survey of operators. Here the results rely only on visitor numbers rather than visitors who are primarily motivated by wildlife.

7. An adjustment is made by halving the overseas to domestic tourist ratio to take account of the uncertainty, given that the overseas estimates are based on visitors rather than on those primarily motivated by wildlife, and that overseas visitors are less likely to be motivated in their trip by wildlife as their longer trip distance and higher trip cost is more likely to give higher numbers of general trips and multi-purpose trips than for domestic tourists 2.

8. The values for overseas tourists are calculated by multiplying the results of steps 3 and 7.

Table 1: Market Size Calculations and Ratios

Step

Trips

Nights

Spend

1

Wildlife tourists as % of domestic tourists

5.20

6.30

7.4

2

UKTS statistics (2008) millions [and £millions]

12.15

44.19

2812.0

3

Calculated values: wildlife domestic tourists (millions)

0.63

2.80

208.1

4

Ratio of wildlife day visits to wildlife domestic tourists

0.65

-

0.07

5

Calculated values: wildlife day visitors (millions)

0.41

-

14.3

6

Ratio of overseas visits to domestic tourists

0.24

0.52

0.52

7

Adjusted ratio of overseas to domestic tourists

0.12

0.26

0.26

8

Calculated values: wildlife overseas tourists (millions)

0.08

0.72

54.4

5.11 These calculations are shown in Table 1, with results summarised in Table 2. In total, these calculations show that 1.12 million wildlife trips are made each year, with wildlife tourists spending 3.5 million nights in Scotland and spending a total of £276 million.

Table 2: Summary of Results for Wildlife Tourism

Trips (m)

Proportion of 2008 Totals (%)

Nights (m)

Proportion of 2008 Totals (%)

Spend (£m)

Proportion of 2008 Totals (%)

Domestic tourists

0.63

5.2

2.8

6.3

208

7.4

Day visitors

0.41

*

14

*

Overseas tourists

0.08

3.1

0.72

3.7

54

4.4

Total

1.12

*

3.5

5.5

276

*

* Proportions of national totals cannot be calculated where day visitors are included because of the lack of up-do-date data on day visits.

5.12 Margins of error on these results are relatively small in absolute terms (Table 3) but significant in relative terms for overseas tourists in particular. The calculated value for total wildlife trips, for example, is 1.12 million with a margin of error of 0.29 million trips at the 95% confidence level. It is therefore 95% likely that the true number of wildlife trips is between 0.84 million and 1.41 million, given the definition of wildlife visitors used in this report.

5.13 Domestic tourists are the largest group of wildlife visitors according to the central estimates of trips, however the lower bound of the confidence interval for domestic tourism (0.54) is lower than the upper bound of the day visitor confidence interval (0.68), so the possibility that there are more wildlife day visitors than domestic tourists cannot be altogether ruled out. Similarly, the lower bound of the confidence interval for wildlife day visitor trips (0.14) is lower than the upper bound of the confidence interval for overseas tourists, so the possibility that there are more overseas wildlife tourists than wildlife day visitors also cannot be ruled out.

5.14 The 95% confidence interval of 1.12 +/- 0.29 million trips is equal to an interval 25% either side of the central estimate (0.29 million is 25% of 1.12 million), so that where national level figures are given for wildlife tourism where confidence intervals cannot be calculated, it should be borne in mind that at the national level, there is a 25% margin of error on trips, and this gives a rough indication of the accuracy of other figures.

Table 3: Margins of Error for Wildlife Tourism Trips

Trips (m)

Between (m)

Domestic tourists

0.63 +/- 0.09

0.54 and 0.73

Day visitors

0.41 +/- 0.27*

0.14 and 0.68

Overseas tourists

0.08 +/- 0.08**

0 and 0.16

Total

1.12 +/- 0.29*

0.83 and 1.41

* All margins of error are for 95% confidence interval.
** As the overseas tourists figure does not rely on the same type of sampling as the other figures, a margin of error cannot be calculated for this result. To show how it might affect the margin of error for total wildlife trips, a wide margin of error is used.

5.15 When compared with national level statistics for 2008, wildlife tourism accounts for 5.2% of domestic tourist trips in Scotland, 6.3% of nights and 7.4% of spending (Table 2). It accounts for 3.1% of overseas trips, 3.7% of nights and 4.4% of spending.

5.16 When comparing types of wildlife visitor in terms of the countryside, marine or coastal wildlife that attracts visitors, it is important to take into consideration the wider margins of error that result from this being a sample of wildlife visitors, who only make up a small proportion of respondents to surveys. While, therefore, central estimates show that wildlife in the countryside is the primary purpose of visit for 48% of domestic tourists (Table 4), this is subject to a 95% confidence interval of +/- 25%. While marine tourism accounts for 17% of wildlife tourism trips, the 95% confidence interval is that this figure is between 0% and 36%. While countryside wildlife tourism does have more trips than marine wildlife tourism at a 95% level of confidence, it is not possible to say that coastal wildlife tourism has more trips than marine wildlife tourism (or less than countryside wildlife tourism) at this level of confidence.

Table 4: Margins of Error of the Proportions of Wildlife Domestic Tourist Trips Classified by Type of Wildlife

Proportion of Wildlife Domestic Tourist Trips

Between

Countryside

48% +/- 25%

23% and 73%

Marine

17% +/- 19%

0% and 36%

Coastal

35% +/- 24%

11% and 59%

5.17 Information on spending at wildlife attractions (entrance or trip fees and souvenir purchases, but not including food or any other purchases) shows that wildlife tourists spend 12% of their total trip expenditure at these attractions; day visitors spent 20% of their total trip expenditure there. Translated into the national level figures above, spending by wildlife visitors at wildlife attractions totals £34.4 million (Table 5). Calculating, given the relative numbers of wildlife and non-wildlife visitors at attractions (from the onsite survey conducted) and their relative spend per person on wildlife attractions compared to wildlife visitors, the spend by non-wildlife visitors at wildlife attractions totals £58.3 million. Totalling the spending by wildlife and non-wildlife visitors gives an estimate for the turnover of wildlife attractions of £92.7 million, of which £69.3 million (75%) is spent by domestic tourists. Noticeably, total spending by non-wildlife visitors (those whose main reason for making their trip is not to visit wildlife but who also visit a wildlife a site during their stay) makes up almost two thirds (63%) of total expenditure at wildlife attractions.

5.18 Including a share of daily spend on food and beverages (assuming that one third of all food and beverage purchases are made at a visitor site and further dividing this according to expenditure at wildlife sites relative to all sites) and a similar share of car parking expenditure would increase the total spend at wildlife attractions to £129.6 million.

Table 5: Spending at Wildlife Attractions

Domestic Tourists

Day visitors

Overseas Tourists

Total

Spend on wildlife by wildlife visitors (£million)

25.0

2.9

6.5

34.4

Spend on wildlife by non wildlife visitors (£million)

44.3

2.4

11.6

58.3

Total spend on wildlife (£million)

69.3

5.4

18.1

92.7

5.19 Defining wildlife tourists by primary purpose of visit is in practice far from simple. Respondents to surveys were asked to define themselves, first by purpose of visit (holiday, business, visiting friends or relatives, other) and then by main reason for visit, with wildlife being one of several possible options (city break, heritage, night life, cultural experiences, enjoy the countryside, see wildlife, go hunting shooting or fishing, just to relax, something else). Those respondents who chose 'to see wildlife' for this question were classified as being wildlife visitors.

5.20 There is, however, a great deal of overlap between motivations to enjoy the countryside and to view wildlife. While many visitors who go to see the countryside do so for other motivations entirely, many go for a mix of countryside and wildlife reasons, attach a high degree of value to viewing wildlife, would not make their visit without the possibility of seeing wildlife, and are in the overlap between wildlife and countryside motivations and could rightfully be counted in either categories. A later question asked respondents for the importance that they attached to ten natural items, allowing them to grade them from 'irrelevant' to 'essential'. These included five wildlife items (birds, flora, insects, marine mammals and other mammals) and five items reflecting the scenic attractions (the countryside, coast, mountains, lochs and the sea). Those respondents who had earlier chosen countryside as their main reason for visit were then classified as wildlife tourists if they chose either 'essential' or 'very important' to any of the five wildlife categories.

5.21 In order to compare against other studies or other definitions, the following data show how the definition of wildlife visitors would affect the number of visits made by domestic wildlife tourists (Table 6). While a definition that excludes the overlap between countryside and wildlife would lead to only 0.22 million trips, while classifying all those who rate wildlife as essential to their trip would lead to counting 0.92 million trips. In this study, the third definition in Table 5 is used, with wildlife tourists either directly defining themselves as such, or defining the main reason for their trip as the countryside but with wildlife being very important or essential.

Table 6: Domestic Wildlife Tourism Trips Under Different Definitions of Wildlife Tourism

Definition

Number of Trips (million)

Only those choosing wildlife as the main reason for their visit

0.22

Those choosing wildlife as the main reason for their visit, plus those choosing countryside and also rating wildlife as 'essential'

0.43

Those choosing wildlife as the main reason for their visit, plus those choosing countryside and also rating wildlife as 'essential' or 'very important'

0.63

Those choosing wildlife as the main reason for their visit, plus those choosing countryside and also rating wildlife as 'essential', 'very important' or 'important

0.92

All those rating at least one wildlife item as 'essential' regardless of the main reason for their visit

0.85

The Wildlife Tourist Season

5.22 Clear perceptions of there being a wildlife tourist season have emerged from this research, with quantitative estimates of the percentage of domestic wildlife tourists visiting at different times of the year (Figure 2) showing when wildlife tourists do visit Scotland. There are clear peaks in May and June, together accounting for half of all wildlife tourism visits over the year.

Figure 2: Percentage of Domestic Wildlife Tourists Visiting at Different Times of the Year

Figure 2: Percentage of Domestic Wildlife Tourists Visiting at Different Times of the Year

5.23 Wildlife operators themselves see July and August as particular high season months (Figure 3), re-enforcing views from operators in interviews that tourists who are not primarily motivated by wildlife make up a large proportion of their customers during these months that are the peak season for tourism in Scotland. The times that wildlife tourists visit the most are not necessarily the same (and these results demonstrate the differences) as the times when wildlife operators are busiest.

Figure 3: Opening and Business Throughout the Year (% of Businesses)

Figure 3: Opening and Business Throughout the Year (% of Businesses)

5.24 Perceptions of when wildlife enthusiasts visit, being a more strict term than wildlife tourists, and including only the more serious wildlife visitors, are spread more evenly throughout the period from April to October (Figure 4), although wildlife enthusiasts peak in May and June as do wildlife tourists.

Figure 4: Business Perceptions of when Wildlife Enthusiasts Visit (%)

Figure 4: Business Perceptions of when Wildlife Enthusiasts Visit (%)

Profile of Domestic Wildlife Tourists

5.25 Profiles were obtained of domestic wildlife tourists and wildlife day visitors through the survey instruments used in this analysis. Sample sizes are not sufficient to allow a meaningful presentation of results for overseas wildlife tourists, so the following figures relate only to domestic visitors.

5.26 From these results it is apparent that while wildlife visitors (overnight tourists and day visitors) are spread among all age groups, there is a peak in the 45-54 years category for overnight tourists, but that all older age groups from 45 years up are present in numbers for day visitors. The 16-24 and 25-34 years categories are only lightly represented in both types of wildlife visitor.

Figure 5: Age Profile of Domestic Wildlife Visitors (%)

Overnight Tourists

Day Visitors

0 -15 years

10.4

14.2

16 - 24 years

2.9

4.5

25 - 34 years

11.1

7.3

35 - 44 years

20.0

14.2

45 - 54 years

27.4

19.8

55 - 64 years

18.5

19.7

65+

9.7

17.1

Total

100

100

Figure 5: Age Profile of Domestic Wildlife Visitors (%)

5.27 Wildlife day visitors to Scotland tend to live in Scotland, with only 8.3% (Figure 6) resident in the North of England. Wildlife tourists are more widely spread throughout the UK, although almost one fifth of them resident in Scotland.

Figure 6: Place of Residence of Domestic Wildlife Visitors (%)

Overnight Tourists

Day Visitors

Scotland

54.9

91.7

North of England

16.6

8.3

London

3.2

0.0

Rest of the UK

25.3

0.0

Figure 6: Place of Residence of Domestic Wildlife Visitors (%)

5.28 Groups tend to be comprised of immediate family only, for both overnight and day trip wildlife visitors (Figure 7). Only around one in ten of overnight wildlife tourists and one in five wildlife day visitors travelled alone.

Figure 7: Group Composition of Domestic Wildlife Visitors (%)

Overnight Tourists

Day Visitors

Travelled alone

11.7

20.8

Immediate family

59.4

62.5

Friends

16.6

0.0

Family and friends

12.3

16.7

Total

100

100

Figure 7: Group Composition of Domestic Wildlife Visitors (%)

Figure 8: Type of Accommodation for Overnight Wildlife Tourists

Figure 8: Type of Accommodation for Overnight Wildlife Tourists

5.29 Wildlife tourists stay in a variety of accommodation types (Figure 8), with hotels, motels, guest houses and bed and breakfast accommodation making up over one third of all accommodation.

5.30 Wildlife operators view their market as being mainly general tourists who take an incidental visit to a wildlife site while on their trip. The general consensus from industry workshops was that approximately "70% are general tourists and 30% are just focused on the wildlife". This categorisation relies on the operators' own understanding of the difference between general and wildlife tourists, and different operators may have different understandings of this distinction, but it is nevertheless a good indication of the relative size of these two categories. Operators also recognise that there is a spectrum of visitors, ranging from some who are very serious and dedicated to viewing wildlife to others who have no interest in wildlife and visit a wildlife site for some other reason, with a range of strengths of motivations in between (Figure 9).

Figure 9: The Spectrum of Visitors' Dedication to Wildlife

Figure 9: The Spectrum of Visitors' Dedication to Wildlife

5.31 The importance of tourists with a casual or passing interest in wildlife should not be understated, as although these are excluded from the definition of wildlife tourists used in this report, they make up the majority, almost two-thirds, of spending at wildlife sites (see paragraph 5.17). Wildlife visitors are however more likely to make repeat visits to wildlife attractions in Scotland (Figure 10) and also have a higher pattern of spend per person per day (Figure 11).

Figure 10: Previous Visits Made to Wildlife Sites: "Have you previously made visits to..." Responses from the On-site Survey (%)

Figure 10: Previous Visits Made to Wildlife Sites: "Have you previously made visits to..." Responses from the On-site Survey (%)

Figure 11: Spending in Scotland per Person per Day from the On-site Survey (£)

Figure 11: Spending in Scotland per Person per Day from the On-site Survey (£)

5.32 One aspect of their wildlife activities that respondents to both surveys were asked is their behaviour towards wildlife at home. In both surveys, the majority of non-wildlife visitors (those whose primary motivation on the trip was not to view wildlife) did undertake some form of wildlife viewing while at home, such as taking occasional local walks to watch wildlife. Overall, though, the percentages of non-wildlife visitors who undertook such trips is lower than that for wildlife visitors - in the postal survey, for example, 57% of wildlife tourists reported either frequent local walks to watch wildlife or regular trips to local nature reserves against an average of 25% for all tourists (Figure 12).

Figure 12: Wildlife and Non-Wildlife Tourists' Visitation of Wildlife While at Home

Figure 12: Wildlife and Non-Wildlife Tourists' Visitation of Wildlife While at Home

Size of Submarkets

5.33 Terrestrial wildlife tourism attracts 43% of wildlife visitors, with 41% of nights spent in Scotland by wildlife tourists being made by visitors who are primarily motivated by visiting terrestrial wildlife (Table 7). Marine wildlife accounts for 21% of trips and 23% of nights, while coastal wildlife accounts for 36% of trips and 36% of nights.

5.34 Spending by terrestrial wildlife tourists is £113 million, by marine wildlife tourists is £63 million, and by coastal wildlife tourists is £100 million.

Table 7: Distribution of Wildlife Tourism by Type

Trips %

Nights %

Spend £million

Terrestrial

43

41

113

Marine

21

23

63

Coastal

36

36

100

Total

100

100

277

5.35 Regionally, the largest area of Scotland in terms of wildlife tourism is clearly the Highlands and Islands. 50% of wildlife tourists visit this region at some point in their trip to or in Scotland (Table 8). This region attracts £124 million of wildlife tourism spending. The 'West Coast & Islands, Loch Lomond & Trossachs' in the central west of Scotland attracts 23% of visitors, spending £29 million. Some caution must be used when comparing these results, as sample sizes are lower for regional results than at the national level.

Table 8: Regional Distribution of Wildlife Tourism

Trips

Nights

Spend

Map

%

%

(£m)

Highlands and Islands [1,2,8 on map]

50

45

124

Aberdeenshire, Moray & Cairngorms National Park [3]

18

11

29

Perthshire, Angus & Fife [4]

13

5

14

West Coast & Islands, Loch Lomond & Trossachs [5]

23

23

65

Edinburgh, Lothians & Scottish Borders [6]

17

4

12

Glasgow, Ayrshire, Arran, Dumfries & Galloway [7]

27

12

34

Total

149

100

276

Note that visitors sum to greater than 100% as some overnight tourists go to more than one region during the course of their visit. Results for the Shetlands and Orkneys are aggregated with the Highlands and Islands due to small sample sizes for these islands.

Supply Considerations

5.36 The information on supply of wildlife tourism contained here is derived from an online survey of organisations interested in wildlife activities. This survey is from a self-selecting non-representative sample of 76 businesses and public sector organisations, who decided themselves to respond to calls for respondents.

Types of Wildlife Tourism Organisation

5.37 Over a third of respondents (36%) are accommodation providers; the remainder are almost all types of wildlife or countryside operator: boat operators make up 17% of the sample, tour providers/operators 13%, wildlife safari operators 11%, visitor centres 8%, nature reserves 8%, country park/forest/estate 1% and wildlife charity/trust 1% (Figure 13). The four respondents who did not classify themselves into these categories are a bird of prey/falconry training school, a Forestry Commission Wildlife Watch Centre, an outdoor activity centre and a pony trekking and trail riding holiday centre.

Figure 13: Type of Operator

Figure 13: Type of Operator

5.38 Of the tour providers/operators, 40% only offer full day tours, 30% offer only part day tours, and 30% offer both part and full day tours. Most of these operators offer different types of tours, or consider the same tour to fall into several different categories. 80% offer wildlife tours, while 70% offer nature tours, 40% offer ecotourism tours and 40% offer walking (in the countryside) tours (Figure 14).

Figure 14: Types of Tours Offered by Tour Providers (% Offering Each Type of Tour)

Figure 14: Types of Tours Offered by Tour Providers (% Offering Each Type of Tour)

5.39 36% of boat operators offer trips with accommodation included, which are equally split between accommodation on a boat and in self catering accommodation ashore. All offer marine trips, with 8% also offering freshwater trips. All these operators indicated that they actively look for dolphins or porpoises, seals and seabirds when on trips (Figure 15). Other species searched for include whales (85%), otters (69%) and other birds (62%).

Figure 15: Species Searched for by Boat Operators (%)

Figure 15: Species Searched for by Boat Operators (%)

5.40 When asked what particular species they are focussed on (a question asked to all types of business), some of the respondents could clearly identify a focus while others were unable to identify specific species (e.g. comments identifying the species focus as "all Scottish birds, animals, plants and insects", "all the birds, mammals, plants and insects of Scotland" and "too many to give all". Others were very specific, identifying one or several bird species. Overall, the majority of businesses include seabirds, other birds, deer and plants as focusses (Figure16).

Figure 16: Particular Species Focussed on (%)

Employment in Wildlife Tourism Organisations

5.41 Respondents to the survey are largely small enterprises with small numbers of employees, but of these employees, the majority of respondents rely on year-round staff, with a mixture of full time ( FT) and part time ( PT) employees (Figure 17) with additional seasonal staff. A minority of firms include volunteers, but larger organisations include large numbers of seasonal volunteers. 10% of the respondents use large numbers (more than 16) of seasonal volunteers, which because of the size of these few organisations and the large number of seasonal volunteers that they use, leads to a high reliance across all respondents on seasonal volunteers (Figure 18).

Figure 17: Structure of Employment (%)

Figure 17: Structure of Employment (%)

Figure 18: Overall Structure of Employment

Figure 18: Overall Structure of Employment

5.42 Weighting part time employees as half a full-time equivalent ( FTE) and seasonal employees as half an FTE (so that part-time seasonal employees count as one quarter of an FTE), operators who responded to this survey have an average of 7.1 FTE employees.

5.43 In terms of the origin of employees prior to recruitment the majority of respondents indicated that all employees were sourced locally (52%), with 60% indicating that over 75% of employees were sourced locally (Figure 19). Meanwhile, 10% of respondents did not source any employees locally and for 12% of respondents, a majority of employees were living outside of Scotland before employment.

Figure 19: Source of Employees (%)

Figure 19: Source of Employees (%)

The Economic Contribution of Wildlife Tourism to Scotland's Economy

5.44 The economic contribution of wildlife tourism results from applying a set of multipliers to the expenditure results reported above. These multipliers result from updating the previous Scottish Tourism Multiplier Study ( STMS) so that when those multipliers are applied to tourism spending on a product (for example, transport), the resulting economic contribution at the national level (for all tourism spending on accommodation in Scotland) equals that in the 2006 Supply and Use tables published by the Scottish Government. These economic contribution calculations rely on direct and indirect multipliers ('type I'), rather than those including induced effects as well ('type II') that are used in impact analysis.

5.45 The method of updating multipliers takes the national level multipliers from STMS and compares them for each product with the relevant multiplier in 2006 from the 2006 Supply and Use Tables. A ratio is then derived for each product to update STMS multipliers to 2006. Updated multipliers are calculated for each region by applying this ratio to each product multiplier and weighting multipliers of each product by wildlife tourism spending by product. The linkages between tourism and spend, and between industries, in the STMS study are therefore also updated to reflect changes at the national level.

5.46 For example, multiplying (all, not just wildlife) domestic tourism spending on accommodation in each region by ('type I') accommodation multipliers from the STMS gives £55 million in generated income. Using the 2006 Supply and Use tables gives a figure of £75 million. A ratio of 1.39 (=75/55) is then applied to all regional income multipliers from the STMS to provide a set of updated multipliers for accommodation.

5.47 Two sets of 'type I' multipliers are available in the STMS and used here. One set gives income and employment generated locally ('local'), the other includes income and employment generated elsewhere in Scotland ('national'). When judging the economic contribution of wildlife tourism to the national economy, the sum of national level impacts are used; when judging the contribution of an individual region's wildlife tourism sector to that region's economy, the local level figures should be used.

5.48 Results from this analysis show that wildlife tourism contributes £156 million to the national economy, and employs 7,446 FTE employees. Wildlife tourism in the Highlands and Islands (including Shetland and Orkney) generates £63 million to the local economy and employs 2,694 FTE employees locally. It has an additional impact on the rest of Scotland, so that the national level contribution of Highlands and Islands' wildlife tourism sector is £78 million and 3,509 FTE jobs. As with the estimates of expenditure in each region, some caution has to be used with the figures in Table 9 because of the relatively small sample sizes for results at the regional level.

Table 9: Economic Contribution of Wildlife Tourism

Income (Local)
£million

Income (National)
£million

Employment (Local)
FTE employees

Employment (National)
FTE employees

Highlands and Islands

63

78

2,694

3,509

Aberdeenshire, Moray & Cairngorms National Park

15

18

631

822

Perthshire, Angus & Fife

6

8

251

359

West Coast & Islands, Loch Lomond & Trossachs

24

32

1,049

1,527

Edinburgh, Lothians & Scottish Borders

2

3

189

436

Glasgow, Ayrshire, Arran, Dumfries & Galloway

13

16

545

793

Scotland Total

156

7,446

5.49 This economic contribution is also calculated for different types of wildlife tourism (Table 10). The largest single contribution from type of wildlife tourism is from terrestrial wildlife tourism (generating £64 million of income for the Scottish economy and employing just over 3,000 FTE employees). While marine wildlife tourism generates around half the income (£36 million) and employment (1,705 FTE employees), the close links between coastal and marine wildlife tourism need to be taken into consideration. The coastal wildlife tourism sub-sector generates £56 million in income and 2,681 FTE employees, and is a mix of terrestrial and marine wildlife motives combined with genuine coastal species.

Table 10: Economic Contribution by Types of Wildlife Tourism

Expenditure
£ million

Income
£ million

Employment
FTE Employees

Terrestrial

114

64

3,061

Marine

63

36

1,705

Coastal

100

56

2,681

Total

156

7,446

Economic Impact

5.50 Gross economic impact is calculated (Table 11) to show the maximum economic impact that wildlife tourism might have in Scotland if (a) all induced effects of income spending are present, (b) there is no displacement, and (c) all wildlife tourists are additional to the Scottish economy. This shows that the gross economic impact of wildlife tourism is £182.8 million, with 7,714 FTE jobs created. The relevant multipliers, which are more useful for the analysis of the benefits of attracting additional tourists, are 1.3 (income) and 55.7 (employment), so that an additional £1 million of spending by wildlife tourists would lead to an increase in income of £1.3 million and of employment by 55.7 FTE jobs, if all that expenditure were additional and led to no displacement.

Table 11: Gross Economic Impact in Each Region

Income
£ million

Employment
FTE Employees

Highlands and Islands

88.5

3,869

Aberdeenshire, Moray & Cairngorms National Park

20.7

906

Perthshire, Angus & Fife

9.5

364

West Coast & Islands, Loch Lomond & Trossachs

35.9

1,534

Edinburgh, Lothians & Scottish Borders

9.5

244

Glasgow, Ayrshire, Arran, Dumfries & Galloway

18.7

797

Scotland Total

182.8

7,714

5.51 Additionality is measured by a question for visitors to wildlife sites asking what they would have done if they had not made the trip to that wildlife site. The 20% of respondents who answered "don't know" are excluded for the purposes of calculating additionality. The remaining responses are used to calculate how much of the spending that occurred because wildlife visitors made a trip would otherwise have been spent on something outside of Scotland (so is therefore additional). The answers to this question ("if you had not taken this trip, would you have made another trip instead") are treated as follows:

  • If they answered "yes, to a similar type of location in Scotland", this is taken to mean to a wildlife site, and such respondents are treated as being additional for the wildlife tourism industry.
  • If they answered "yes, but to a different kind of location in Scotland", this is taken to mean a visitor site not related to wildlife. These respondents are not counted as being additional.
  • If they answered "yes, but to a location outside of Scotland" respondents are counted as being additional.
  • If they answered "no, I would have spent the time and money doing something entirely different",
  • spending by those visitors who are resident outside of Scotland is counted as additional.
  • for visitors resident within Scotland, only the proportion that would likely have been spent on goods imported into Scotland is counted as additional.

5.52 These calculations result in 51% of wildlife domestic tourism being additional, and 58% of wildlife day visitors being additional. When these shares are applied to spending patterns, the economic impact of wildlife tourism reduces, to £94 million in income and 3,947 FTE jobs (Table 12).

5.53 The level of displacement is difficult to be certain of, for it depends on the context under which economic impact is being considered. During a recession displacement may be minimal, for example. One key aspect of displacement is the relation of wildlife tourism to the peak months of July and August, when in normal circumstances any additional tourism is likely to be fully displaced. As 30% of wildlife tourists visit in these months, a level of 30% displacement is used, with results showing a net economic impact of £65 million, and with 2,763 FTE jobs resulting from wildlife tourists' spending (Table 12).

5.54 Net economic impact calculations by type of visitor (Table 13) show that, with displacement, the net economic impact in terms of income of terrestrial, marine and coastal tourism is £27 million, £15 million and £24 million, with an impact on employment of 1,136 (terrestrial), 633 (marine) and 995 (coastal).

5.55 Domestic tourists clearly account for the largest part of the economic impact (£49 million, 2,082 jobs) as they account for the majority of wildlife visitor spending (Table 14).

Table 12: Net Economic Impact (with Additionality Taken into Consideration)

With No DisplacementWith 30% Displacement

Income
£ million

Employment
FTE Employees

Income
£ million

Employment
FTE Employees

Highlands and Islands

45

1,980

32

1,386

Aberdeenshire, Moray & Cairngorms National Park

11

464

7

325

Perthshire, Angus & Fife

5

186

3

130

West Coast & Islands, Loch Lomond & Trossachs

18

785

13

550

Edinburgh, Lothians & Scottish Borders

5

125

3

87

Glasgow, Ayrshire, Arran, Dumfries & Galloway

10

408

7

285

Total

94

3,947

65

2,763

Table 13: Net Economic Impact by Type of Wildlife Visitor

With No Displacement

With 30% Displacement

Expenditure
£ million

Income
£ million

Employment
FTE Employees

Income
£ million

Employment
FTE Employees

Terrestrial

114

38

1,622

27

1,136

Marine

63

21

904

15

633

Coastal

100

34

1,421

24

995

Total

276

94

3,947

65

2,763

Table 14: Net Economic Impact by Type of Visit

With No Displacement

With 30% Displacement

Expenditure
£ million

Income
£ million

Employment
FTE Employees

Income
£ million

Employment
FTE Employees

Day visitors

14

5

200

3

140

Tourists

262

89

3,747

62

2,623

Of which…

Domestic tourists

208

70

2,975

49

2,082

Overseas tourists

54

18

772

13

541

Total

276

94

3,947

65

2,763