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Evaluation of the Tourism Innovation Programme


[Scottish Enterprise is currently reviewing with partners and industry the results of this evaluation with a view to developing a programme of support which meets the needs of industry and the new strategy for tourism.] The Tourism Innovation Programme represents the main suite of activities that Scottish Enterprise (SE), in conjunction with its partners Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and VisitScotland, undertook to support innovation in the tourism sector. It had four main components: Tourism Innovation Group (TiG), which involved SE, HIE and VisitScotland; Tourism Innovation Toolkit Workshops (Toolkit), delivered by SE; Tourism Innovation Fund (TIF), delivered by SE; and Tourism Intelligence Scotland (TIS), which involved SE, HIE and VisitScotland. The evaluation aimed to assess: the rationale for intervention; project objectives and targets achieved; project benefits including economic impact assessment; usage, quality and demand; the management and delivery; fit and contribution to other SE activities and key sector development; and contribution to the equity and equalities agendas. It also sought to provide recommendations for any future direction and delivery of the project.


The research consisted of four main elements: a desk review of relevant documentation on background, inputs and activities; a series of consultations with relevant stakeholders; an online survey of businesses and organisations registered on TIS; and a telephone survey of businesses and organisations involved in the different ‘direct’ interventions of the programme – TIS, Toolkit and TIF.


The evaluation found that there remains a strong case for intervention in this area. Just under £1.5 million has been invested in the programme, the rationale for which was based on information deficiencies and the fact that within the tourism sector there has been a reluctance to innovate. The different elements of the programme are being managed effectively by SE and its partners. However, the research has highlighted the need for clearer connections between these different elements. The alignment between the programme and SE’s destinations and key tourism product approaches varies. In terms of the programme’s links with the key tourism products, this appears to be stronger through TIS and Toolkit than TIF. A positive contribution to rural economic diversification was found. Overall, 42% of those involved in the programme are based in rural areas (by comparison, 20% of all Scottish businesses are based in rural areas). The overall aim of the programme was to foster a stronger culture of innovation in the tourism sector. The survey showed that 16% of respondents strongly agree and 63% agree that there is now a stronger culture of innovation compared to three years ago. When asked about the influence of the programme on this change, 15% of respondents stated it has had a significant influence, with a fifth stating a moderate influence. This suggests that the programme is contributing in a meaningful way to the aim of changing the culture of innovation, although there remains work to be done. It is estimated that the programme impacts to date (to end 2010/11) have been approximately £6.4 million in gross annual turnover amongst programme users; £1.8 million in net annual GVA for Scotland; and 59 net jobs for Scotland, with a (cumulative) Economic Impact Ratio of 1:2. Extending the appraisal period out to 2014/15, the suggested cumulative total net GVA (discounted values) = £10.7m, with an Economic Impact Ratio of 1:7.4.


The report makes a series of recommendations, including that: there should be continued investment in the programme; stronger links between the various components of the programme should be established; greater uptake should be encouraged in the destinations; a review of the terminology used by the programme should be undertaken to ensure it aligns well with that used by the businesses themselves; and the suitability of the TIF formula for other sectors should be considered.

Author SQW Consulting
Published Year 2012
Report Type Evaluation
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