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Tourism Destination Development: interim evaluation & assessment of future growth potential


The Scottish Enterprise (SE) Tourism Destination Development Strategy was approved in early 2008, with the aim of maximising the contribution that the six key tourism destinations in the SE area (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, Highland Perthshire, Cairngorms/Royal Deeside and St Andrews) can make to the 50% revenue growth target set out in the tourism industry strategy. This interim evaluation was commissioned to evaluate the success of the approach to date and where appropriate offer recommendations to help ensure future success. There were two main objectives: to assess the estimated potential future level of growth which could be achieved within each of the six destinations; and to analyse the relative performance of these key destinations against wider Scottish and UK tourism performance.


The methodology comprised: a desk-based review, fieldwork with both internal and external stakeholders and growth projections for the six destinations.


Each of the destinations are now at a similar stage in that all have developed a strategy and action plan for their area, although it is too early to say which of the partnerships is the most appropriate or the level of resources that should be directed towards them in the future. Each model has the capacity to potentially deliver on certain projects/activities in a more effective and efficient way than another, which may ultimately lead to a ‘best practice’ approach for specific activities rather than an overall best practice model. Different structures and delivery models have been developed by each of the destinations and in some cases the funding/resourcing of the organisation will be an issue in the future. Funding/investment of projects was found to be a challenge and new forms of funding mechanisms may need to be more fully explored. The level and form of private sector engagement was also found to be an issue but the use of subgroups and project specific initiatives has provided a successful route to increase this engagement. The overall destination approach was strengthened by utilising other SE products. Growth forecasts for the destinations were established in terms of volume (the number of bednights) and value (the level of visitor expenditure). In terms of volume, the average growth is forecast at between 28% and 30%, with the average for value forecast at between 37% and 44%. In terms of relative performance of the six destinations, the total number of visitor days across the six decreased by 2.4%, much lower than the decreases experienced in Scotland and the UK (13.6% and 10.1%, respectively). Total visitor expenditure increased across the six by 1.8%, in line with the UK growth as a whole at 2%, but the Scottish experience saw a decrease by 2.7%.


A number of recommendations were made for the future development of the approach in relation to: management issues; funding mechanisms; visitor research; best practice; measurement; and equity and equality. These were divided into those most relevant for the SE Tourism Key Sector Team and project managers in each of the destinations.

Author EKOS Ltd
Published Year 2011
Report Type Evaluation
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors