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Visitor attraction review


The Scottish Enterprise Network has provided support to many visitor attractions (VAs) within its operating area. This report aimed to: identify the extent of SE involvement in and contribution to VA projects; review and log VA capital costs, revenue and visitor projections; assess actual performance against projections; and provide findings for an information paper on levels of SE contribution, future commitment and appraisal of future visitor attraction projects.


Initial consultations were undertaken were undertaken with SE Knowledge Management and Finance Executives; available information was researched and reviewed; and consultations were undertaken with project executives involved in the evolution and implementation of a cross-section of VA projects.


SE was found to have invested considerable resources in VAs. VAs are high risk projects because of their high profile nature. The direct, quantifiable benefits of these projects, particularly at a national level, have yet to be proven. Project estimates can seriously miscalculate the number of visitors to an attraction. The availability of new sources of funding in recent years, such as the Millennium and Heritage Lottery Funds, has increased funding but put more pressure on SE to match funding.


SE should adopt a rigorous risk-assessment for estimating visitor numbers and dealing with variations. Visitor prices can rise between initial appraisal and VA opening, thus reducing visitor numbers; pricing should take into account the competition of other leisure and retail facilities. There should be a presumption against real increases in admission prices and levels of on-site spending as projects move towards implementation. Visitor numbers usually level off after opening, and intervention may be needed to rejuvenate a VA. The experience of previously funded VAs should be taken into account. Future evaluations of VAs should establish what economic benefits are being delivered, and compare them against other SE interventions. Future interventions must be placed in the context of both government and SE strategy.

Author Malcolm Watson Urban Regeneration and Economic Development
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Business infrastructure
    Area regeneration, Company specific
  • Enterprise
    Sector-level support
  • Sectors