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Impacts of the St Andrews World Class strategy: mid-term evaluation and economic impact analysis


The St Andrews World Class (SAWC) was launched as a partnership initiative in 2003 to recognise and build on St Andrews’ existing international competitive advantages of golf, tourism and university research. It aimed to promote: labour and skills development; business development; visitor facilities and services; support infrastructure; brand development; and commercialisation of intellectual property and assets. The evaluation aimed to: determine the impact of the SAWC strategy; identify further opportunities, barriers or constraints, increased business confidence, local business views of brand awareness and strengthening; and measure progress towards the outputs that form part of the original strategy, such as number of active participants and number of businesses assisted.


The methodology consisted of a review of available data; 12 interviews with stakeholders; an electronic survey of local businesses followed up by telephone interviews (28 responses); and quantitative analysis (tourism impact model) of the up-to-date data to calculate the current value of tourism in St Andrews.


The strategy has made significant progress so far but momentum will need to be maintained if the initiative is to deliver the full range of results envisaged by the group. Interviewees commented positively on the SAWC and in general appeared enthusiastic about the project and the activities it covers. Some issues the project had to address or still needs to address were identified and relate to finances and the speed with which SAWC has moved forward. Suggests that even at this early stage the project is having an impact such as: recruiting significant numbers of staff from areas such as Leven, Methil, Buckhaven and Dundee; the significant change in profile of visitors towards higher spending, lower volume visitors; some of the businesses attribute business benefits to the strategy, and there may be a link between the recovery in business since 2001 and the strategy; the significant levels of private sector investment are, in part at least, attributable to the confidence in the destination created by SAWC; and the scale of investment would suggest the private sector is confident of increases in business over the long term. It seems likely to achieve (and probably comfortably exceed) the original, ambitious targets set for change in St Andrews. NB the economic impact calculations in this report do not wholly adhere to the Scottish Enterprise Economic Impact Assessment Guidance launched in 2006, therefore please treat these figures with caution. Please use the "Contact Us" button if you need more information.


To ensure the initiative delivers on the full range of results envisaged by the group, momentum will need to be maintained. Recommends that the strategy will need to change emphasis from developing the means into delivering the main elements under the Place, Product and Progress headings. Suggests particular attention needs to be paid to the state of the partnership in the sense that Fife Council is still not fully on board with implementing the strategy; the PR and communication effort needs to increase to address concerns among local businesses and residents; and the time the strategy has taken to get going.

Author Hall Aitken
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors