Snowsports sector - economic, social and cultural impact: research - technical report

This technical annex contains methodological details of the research into the economic, cultural and social value of the Scottish snowsports sector.

7. Business Group Discussion Guide

7.1 Introduction

The Scottish Government has commissioned EKOS to undertake research to establish the wider impact and contribution that the snowsports sector makes in Scotland. The main aims of the research are to:

  • Assess the economic, cultural, and social value of the Scottish snowsports sector.
  • Understand the impact of COVID-19 on the snowsports sector.
  • Project the long-term sustainability of the snowsports sector.
  • Recommend how the sector may be strengthened.

The research covers the five mountain centres (Cairngorms Mountain Resort, Glencoe Mountain Resort, Glenshee Ski Centre, Nevis Range and The Lecht 2090) as well as the range of artificial slopes across the country.

The research includes various aspects, including visitor surveys at the mountain centres and artificial slopes. We are also interested to understand how the snowsports sector, and in particular the mountain centres, affect and/or create wider benefit for other local businesses.

This piece of research will help to shape how the Scottish Government supports the sector and its related supply chains in future years. The research is due to be completed by the end of August 2022, and the outputs will help to inform a new strategy for the Snowsports Sector in Scotland, alongside the stakeholder consultation that has been led by Snowsport Scotland.

7.2 Topic areas

The topic areas were used to help guide the conversation and was used flexibly.

1. Introductions. Introductions were made and the study team explained the purpose of the research, how business feedback would be used (i.e. thematic reporting to protect confidentiality and anonymity), the timescales for reporting, and how the report would be used by the Scottish Government.

2. Establish an overview of each business, sector, number of employees, how long it has been operating, etc.

3. To what extent is your business (and local community) currently affected by or reliant on activity that takes place at (insert name of mountain centre)? Why do you say this? Does this depend on wider factors such as seasonality, type of business, etc?

4. Do you think the affect the mountain centre has on your business/local community has changed over the last five years or so? Has it become more or less important? Think also about pre-COVID and what it is now. Why do you say this?

5. What impact did COVID-19 have on your business? Did the impact of COVID-19 on (insert mountain centre) have a wider affect for your business/local community? In what ways?

6. In what ways does (insert name) mountain centre make a difference or have a positive impact on the local community? Explore whether it:

  • Creates and supports employment in the local area.
  • Increases footfall for local businesses/area.
  • Encourages snowsports participants to visit/experience nearby places/attractions (e.g. discover new places or things to do nearby).
  • Attracts non-snowsports visitors to the area in the summer months.
  • Supports the local tourism and visitor economy.
  • Other impacts.

7. Does it create any negative impacts?

8. How important do you think the (insert name) mountain centre will be to your business (and local community more broadly) over the medium-term (i.e. next five years)? Why do you say this? What implications may this have for your business and the local economy?

9. What actions, if any are you taking/do you plan to take as a business to mitigate against any negative impacts of declining snow levels and the knock-on effect this will have on your business?

10. What do you think mountain centres need to do to improve and/or diversify their offer (i.e. improve their chances of sustainability? What are the barriers to achieving this? What support might they need (and from whom) to achieve this?



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