Publication - Progress report

Planning Scotland's Seas: 2013 - The Scottish Marine Protected Area Project – Developing the Evidence Base tor Impact Assessments and the Sustainability Appraisal Final Report

Published: 19 Aug 2013
Part of:
Marine and fisheries

This report provides Marine Scotland with evidence on economic and social effects to inform a Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) for each possible NC MPA, and a Sustainability Appraisal for the suite of proposals as a whole.

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

Planning Scotland's Seas: 2013 - The Scottish Marine Protected Area Project – Developing the Evidence Base tor Impact Assessments and the Sustainability Appraisal Final Report
C.16. Tourism

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

C.16. Tourism

C.16.1 Introduction

This appendix provides an overview of existing and potential future activity for the tourism sector in Scottish waters and outlines the methods used to assess the impacts of proposed MPAs on this sector.

C.16.2 Sector Definition

Tourism can be defined as 'a stay of one or more nights away from home for holidays, visits to friends or relatives, business/conference trips or any other purposes excluding activities such as boarding education or semi-permanent employment' (VisitScotland [54] ). In this baseline, day trips are also included. Marine and coastal tourism can be defined as any recreational activity that makes use of the marine environment and intertidal coastal zones (Benfield and McConnell, 2007). This can include a range of activities such as walking along the sea-front to sea-side based horse riding. Both non-motorised (walking/picnicking) and motorised (boat-based tourism e.g. wildlife viewing) activities can be included in marine and coastal tourism. Recreational boating and water sports activities are considered as separate sectors. For this assessment, tourism is defined as relevant activities not already included within recreational boating and water sports, to avoid double counting.

C.16.3 Overview of Existing Activity

A list of sources to inform the writing of this baseline is provided in Table C16.1.

Table C16.1 Information Sources

Scale Information Available Date Source
Scotland Leisure and recreation statistics 2011 Baxter et al (2011)
Scotland Economic impact of offshore wind farms 2009 GCal Uni (2009)
Scotland Visitor numbers by region - 2010 Visit Scotland
Scotland The tourism prospectus: investing for growth 2007 Visit Scotland
Scotland Expenditure by coastal and marine wildlife visitors in Scotland. 2009 Bournemouth University (2010)
Scotland Value of whale watching in Scotland 2009 O'Connor et al. (2009)
Scotland Value of conserving whales: impacts of cetacean-related tourism on the economy of rural West Scotland 2003 Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems Journal
Scotland Scotland's Coastal and Maritime Managed Heritage Assets; Visitor Numbers and Revenue 2004-2009 Historic Scotland; Visit Scotland
Scotland Fishing tourism research 2007 Visit Scotland
Scotland Value to economy of tourism No date
Scotland Towards a Strategy for Scotland's Marine Historic Environment 2009 Historic Scotland
Scotland Coastal and marine heritage tourism resources (World Heritage Sites, Designated Wrecks, top wreck dives) 2011 Scotland's Marine Atlas
UK/Scotland UK Designated protected wreck sites (point) MCA, MOD, Historic Scotland, SeaZone, UKHO
UK/Scotland Protected Wreck Sites (with buffer) (polygon) SeaZone, MCA
UK/Scotland Heritage Coasts (polygon) Historic Scotland
UK/Scotland World Heritage Sites (point/polygon) UN ESCO
Scotland Designated Bathing Waters Scotland's Marine Atlas
UK/Scotland Blue Flag Beaches (point) Encams / CP2

C16.3.1 Location of current activity

Figure C20 shows the locations of the various tourist related sites within Scotland. Although there is a high concentration of sites within the central belt, coastal areas are also well represented with a range of site types present in all regions including the North East, North West and North. Indeed, in these three regions the majority of tourist sites are located on the coast rather than inland.

Table C16.2 provides summary statistics on the type of places visited for recreation. The table shows that the seaside accounted for around 12% to 13% of visits by respondents to the Scottish Recreation Survey, 2011. These visits represent those most likely to be affected by the designation of NC MPAs.

Table C16.2 Places visited

Activity 2006 2007 2008
% (Number of Visits) % (Number of Visits) % (Number of Visits)
A town or city 30% (22,149) 35% (27,530) 40% (35,449)
The countryside (including inland villages) 58% (43,296) 52% (40,998) 46% (40,585)
The seaside (a resort or the coast) 13% (9,592) 12% (9,692) 13% (11,529)

(Source: Scottish Recreation Survey, 2011)

C16.3.2 Types of activity

People undertake a range of activities relating to the marine and coastal environment in Scotland. However, Scotland's Marine Atlas (Baxter et al, 2011) notes that there is not much standardised information on participation in marine related leisure activities. Individual groups or sectors may gather their own data, for example, the British Marine Federation (BMF) has used estimates of participation for 2007-2009 to indicate that the five most popular marine leisure related activities in Scotland are (ibid) [55] :

  • Spending general leisure time at the beach: 309,250;
  • Coastal walking: 230,500;
  • Outdoor swimming: 224,500;
  • Boating activity: 213,750; and
  • Sea angling from shore or boat 139,000.

Scottish Natural Heritage ( SNH) has also worked on marine and coastal recreation in Scotland, and has determined that walking/hiking is one of the more popular activities (see Image C16.1) (Baxter et al, 2011).

Image C16.1 Proportion of People Undertaking Different Types of Marine and Coastal Activity

Image C16.1 Proportion of People Undertaking Different Types of Marine and Coastal Activity

The SNH findings are reinforced by those of the Scottish Recreation Survey. The survey results (available for 2006 to 2008) are summarised in Table C16.3 by main activity undertaken. This table shows the importance of walking as a main activity [56] , with an increasing trend from 2006 to 2008 (73% to 78%). The Survey additionally shows that 70% used paths or a network of paths in 2006, increasing to 74% in 2007 and 76% in 2008. Of these paths, 62% (2006), 65% (2007) and 70% (2008) had signposts or way marking. This is likely to reflect the fact that walking is the second most popular choice of activity holiday in Scotland (Sport Industry Research Centre, 2008).

Table C16.3 Main tourism activities

Activity 2006 2007 2008
All walking 73% (54,857) 77% (640,489) 78% (68,091)
Walking <2 miles 30% (22,357) 37% (28,716) 37% (32,456)
Walking 2-8 miles 40% (30,310) 38% (29,746) 37% (32,572)
Walking >8 miles 2% (1,320) 1% (854) 2% (1,830)
Sightseeing/visiting attractions 2% (1,360) 2% (1,210) 1% (930)
All cycling and mountain biking 4% (3,203) 4% (2,870) 3% (2,989)
Family outing 10% (7,481) 7% (5,093) 6% (5,656)

(Source: Scottish Recreation Survey, 2011)

Another popular activity in Scotland is wildlife tourism. Marine and coastal wildlife tourism defined by a recent Scottish Government study as (Scottish Government, 2010):

  • Marine - studying or viewing marine mammals from a boat; and
  • Coastal - studying/viewing/enjoying wildlife on the coast, which includes viewing birds from a boat and watching marine mammals from land.

The popularity of wildlife tourism in Scotland is probably partially influenced by the number of designated Marine Special Areas of Conservation [57] ; there are 36 sites in total covering intertidal waters, reefs, coastline and seal breeding areas. Indeed in a survey carried out by IFAW (2009), Scotland had the largest proportion of Europe's cetacean watchers with 27%. This equated to 3% of the global number of cetacean watchers, with 223,941 tourists taking part.

C16.3.3 Economic Value and Employment

Marine and coastal wildlife tourism in Scotland (including cetacean related tourism) has a combined total expenditure of £160 million and total income of £92 million ( Table C16.4), with peak activity occurring in May and June (Scottish Government, 2010).

Table C16.4 Economic contribution by type of wildlife tourism

Area Expenditure £ million Income £ million
Terrestrial 114 64
Marine 63 36
Coastal 100 56
Total 277 156

(Source: Scottish Wildlife Tourism, 2011)

C16.3.4 Expenditure and income

Tourism generates £4.5 billion turnover for the Scottish economy each year and employs around 200,000 people (Sport Industry Research Centre, 2008) [58] . Certain areas of the country do particularly well from tourism; the Cairngorms National Park economy receives substantial income from tourists (RPA and Cambridge Econometrics, 2008). The popularity of walking has also brought in considerable income in the past. UK residents who visited Scotland specifically to go walking spent £125 million per year, made 400,000 trips and generated 2.7 million bed-nights in the period 2001-2003, (this excludes spending by overseas visitors) (Sport Industry Research Centre, 2008). Although these figures are rather dated, and cover all walking as opposed to just coastal walking, they indicate that the activity is likely to be making an important contribution to Scotland's tourism economy.

The tourism figures above may also provide an indication of the value of some of the benefits from wild land, wilderness and tranquillity. Although McMorran et al (2008) note that few studies enable the benefits from wild land to be identified, they comment that recreation and tourism data do provide some information. For example, in the Highlands and Islands Enterprise area, wild landscapes accounted for up to 19.9 million day visits in 2003 (ibid). These were associated with an expenditure of £411-£751 million (McMorran et al, 2008). It is likely that some of this total can be allocated to coastal tourism and thus the value of seascapes [59] .

Other studies considering tourist expenditure include the Scottish Recreation Survey. This provides an indication of the mean expenditure during trips (across all those who spent money) and is shown in Table C16.5.

Table C16.5 Mean tourism expenditure

Type of Expenditure 2006 2007 2008
A town or city £19.47 £21.55 £18.24
The countryside (including inland villages) £33.82 £35.49 £24.31
The seaside (a resort or the coast) £38.25 £45.45 £40.64

Source: Scottish Recreation Survey, 2011)

C16.3.5 Employment

Marine and coastal tourism generated 4,386 full-time positions in 2009 ( Table C16.6). It should be noted that wildlife tourism supports mainly small enterprises, which employ large numbers of seasonal volunteers; 10% use more than 16 volunteers (Scottish Government, 2010).

Table C16.6 Employment generated from wildlife tourism

Area Employment FTE Employees
Terrestrial 3,061
Marine 1,705
Coastal 2,681
Total 7,446

(Source: Scottish Government, 2010)

C16.3.6 Future Trends in Tourism

Tourism within Scotland is supported by VisitScotland, whose aim is to "maximise the economic benefits of tourism to Scotland [60] ". VisitScotland's strategy has five objectives including:

  • Maximise the sustainable economic benefit of tourism in Scotland;
  • Inspire through information provision;
  • Deliver quality assurance;
  • Work in partnership; and
  • Establish Scotland as perfect stage for events.

The organisation is currently running a new corporate campaign entitled "The Winning Years". This builds on a series of eight events over the years 2012-2014, with each year having a particular theme as follows:

  • 2012 - Year of Creative Scotland;
  • 2013 - Year of Natural Scotland; and
  • 2014 - Year of Homecoming Scotland.

The aims of the campaign are to encourage enthusiasm, support and investment in tourism in Scotland, and to ensure that tourism businesses benefit from the opportunities available. Earlier estimates have indicated that visitor numbers to Scotland are forecast to grow at an average of 2.3% per annum from 2005 to 2015 (RPA and Cambridge Econometrics, 2008), with a 50% increase in gross tourism revenue by 2015 (from 2005) (Scottish Executive, 2006a). However, it is likely that any major developments in tourism in the short term will be affected by this campaign, and also current economic conditions. Indeed, in 2010, overnight visitors to Scotland from the United Kingdom made 12.4 million trips and spent a total of over £2.6 billion (VisitScotland, 2011). These figures represented a decline of 1% in the number of trips and a 4% decrease in expenditure when compared with 2009 data (VisitScotland, 2011). Interestingly, for the same year, international tourism showed a decline in trips of 8% but a growth in expenditure of 6% (VisitScotland, 2011). Therefore, short term tourism trends are uncertain.

Considering trends in particular areas of tourism, the Scottish Recreation Survey has shown that since 2004, there has been an increase in the number of shorter duration visits made closer to home (TNS, 2011). In addition, the percentage of visits taken on foot grew from 50% to 64% in 2008 (TNS, 2010). If these trends are to continue, then it is likely that in the future more tourism will occur close to centres of population and at sites which are easily accessible. Indeed, Brown et al (2010) note that the most likely trend in future outdoor recreation is that there will be a greater range of activities available, but these will be concentrated in a smaller number of locations, dependent amongst other factors on their accessibility. This suggests that areas which are hotspots for particular activities ( e.g. surfing) will be the ones which flourish. However, it should be noted that external factors, such as global climate change may also impact tourism. For example, climate change may affect the distribution and range of cetacean species and thus wildlife watching tourism in Scotland (Lambert et al, 2011). However as such tourism develops, it is important that proper guidelines and management are enforced, so that the growing trend in recreational activities involving the marine and coastal environment does not compromise or destroy the assets which attract so many visitors (Joint Marine Programme, 2004).

C.16.4 Future Trends

It is assumed that the location of tourism activities does not change over the period of the assessment. Levels of tourism activity reflect the economic cycle but are generally expected to increase in the long-term.

C.16.5 Potential Interactions with MPA Features

Potential interactions of tourism activity with MPA features are likely to be similar to those of water sports and recreational boating, and as such are covered in more detail in Appendices C17 and C13 respectively.

C.16.6 Assumptions on Management Measures for Scenarios

The main pressures on the marine environment from tourism relate to associated recreational boating and water sports activities. It is possible that minor management measures may be necessary to limit public access to parts of NC MPAs, but the cost impact to the tourism sector from such measures is considered to be negligible.

It is also possible that should significant impacts to recreational boating or water sports be identified for any particular site that this could have consequential impacts on tourism, by reducing the attractiveness of the location for recreational boating users or water sports enthusiasts, leading to a reduction in visitor footfall and spend. Where significant impacts are identified for recreational boating or water sports sectors, the consequential impacts for the tourism sector will be considered on a site specific basis.

C.16.7 Assessment Methods

Assessment of potential consequential impacts on site specific basis.

C.16.8 Limitations

  • Uncertainty surrounding impacts to recreational boating or water sports.

C.16.9 References

Baxter, J.M., Boyd, I.L., Cox, M., Donald, A.E., Malcolm, S.J., Miles, H., Miller, B., Moffat, C.F., (Editors), 2011. Scotland's Marine Atlas: Information for the national marine plan. Marine Scotland, Edinburgh.

Benfield, S and McConnell, S, 2007. Marine and Coastal Visitor Management, Public Engagement and Interpretation in Argyll and the Islands: the way forward. Marine and Coastal Development Unit, Argyll & Bute Council, 2007, pp1-145.

Brown, K.M., Curry, N., Dilley, R., Taylor, K. & Clark, M., 2010. Assessing future recreation demand. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No.404.

IFAW, 2009. Whale watching worldwide, tourism numbers, expenditures and expanding economic benefits, a report from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, pp1-239.

Joint Marine Programme, 2004. The tangle of the Clyde, why we must reform the management of Scotland's marine environment, WWF and Scottish Wildlife Trust, April 2004, pp 1-16.

Lambert, E., MacLeod, C.D., Hunter, C. and Pierce, G.J., 2011. The Future of Cetacean Watching in Scotland under Different Climate Change Scenarios - The Changing Nature of Scotland, eds. S.J. Marrs, S. Foster, C. Hendrie, E.C. Mackey, D.B.A. Thompson. TSO Scotland, Edinburgh.

McMorran R, Price MF, Warren CR. 2008. The call of different wilds: The importance of definition and perception in protecting and managing Scottish wild landscapes. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 51:177-199.

RPA & Cambridge Econometrics, 2008. The Economic Impact of Scotland's Natural Environment. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No.304 (ROAME No. R07AA106).

Scottish Executive, 2006a. Scottish Tourism: the next decade. A tourism framework for change, Report published by the Scottish Executive, March 2006.

Scottish Government, 2010. The economic impact of wildlife tourism in Scotland, Scottish Government Social Research, pp1-51.

Sport Industry Research Centre, 2008. What Paths do for Scottish Society: An Economic and Social Impact Study, Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 280 (ROAME No. RO6AA607).

TNS Research International, 2011. Scottish Recreation Survey: annual summary report 2010. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No.465.

TNS Research International, 2010. Scottish Recreation Survey: annual summary report 2009. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No.395.

VisitScotland, 2011. Domestic Tourism - Review of Domestic Overnight Tourism to Scotland in 2010.