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Developing SE destination monitoring and baseline measurement


This report follows on from an initial 2007 baseline report covering six key tourism destinations, which set out a series of indicators and guidance on how to assess changes in tourism activity and provided baseline values for a number of key core indicators. This study discusses the previous report's methodology and the availability of data three years later and makes some suggestions about how this data should be strengthened. The report assesses six tourism destinations: Edinburgh; St Andrews; Glasgow; Loch Lomond and the Trossachs; Highland Perthshire; and Cairngorms/Royal Deeside. The report considers: this approach to estimating tourism expenditure and Gross Value Added (GVA) within the destinations and the alternatives; how to improve the source data; whether additional indicators should be added; and how to collect data consistently.


The methodology consisted of a comparison of the initial baseline figures with a new assessment for a number of key core indicators, including: visitor expenditure; GVA; employment in the tourism and hospitality sector; visitor nights; visiting friends and relatives (VFR); length of stay; bed stock (the number of commercial bed spaces); and private investment. Data for the study was taken from: accommodation audits; VisitScotland's annual Scottish Occupancy Survey; United Kingdom Tourism Survey (UKTS) and International Passenger Survey (IPS) and population statistics for each region; Annual Business Inquiry (ABI), Office of National Statistics (ONS); Scottish Government; and Scottish Tourism Economic Activity Model (STEAM).


Across the six destinations, the total expenditure remains around £1.7 billion between 2006 and 2008 - this is relatively encouraging, given that 2008 was considered to be a poor year for tourism. Overall, using the assumptions throughout this report, the value of tourism expenditure is likely to be broadly static. The falls in occupancy rates reported in most destinations have been offset by higher numbers of VFR and increased expenditure. The report suggests that the methodology and approach works and the challenges can be managed if there are improvements to the data available and the timing of its collection. For example, using accommodation audits as the basis for destination bed stock is now becoming more effective. In some cases, such as St Andrews, expenditure data may not reflect the types of visitors specific to the destination. This report has used a single national turnover to GVA ratio and a single GVA to jobs value, which avoids some of the more extreme changes in the initial data that occur in some of the smaller destinations.


For occupancy estimates, the report recommends that SE should continue to use the national occupancy survey as part of the baseline and work with VisitScotland to enhance it in the areas that are weakest. For accommodation audits, the report recommends: a single, centralised exercise, so that all destinations are able to update their data in the same year; and that these databases be kept up to date more regularly as accommodation changes. In terms of expenditure data for St Andrews, the report recommends that the existing visitor survey is refined to allow sufficiently robust estimates to be produced and more work is done to update golfer numbers and expenditure to improve adjustments. Although the VFR estimates have large fluctuations in some of these values, it remains the best source of VFR data and the existing methodology should continue to be used. Continuing to use the new GVA method could be used more widely in tourism project appraisal and evaluation. The report suggests that additional indicators are needed, such as investment. To collect consistent data, a baseline plan should be developed centrally, setting out the timings for the work to deliver the data required for future updates.

Author SQW Consulting
Published Year 2011
Report Type Research
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