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Evaluation of tourism destinations: final report to Scottish Enterprise


In 2008, SE produced a Tourism Destination Development Strategy which set out how the six priority destinations – Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews, Loch Lomond, Royal Deeside and Highland Perthshire – would contribute to what was then the national strategy of growing the tourism sector by 50% between 2005 and 2015. The evaluation aimed to assess SE’s interventions across the six destinations identified over the last four years (April 2008 to September 2012).


The methodology involved meetings with destination managers; consultations with key public and private stakeholders in each destination; a telephone business survey; and an online business survey.


Generally the destinations are in a better position as a result of the investment than they would have been otherwise. The consultations and survey indicate that the destinations have all changed for the better across all the range of criteria used. Partnerships in Edinburgh and St Andrews have worked well, with the St Andrews Partnership one of the strongest across the destinations, which would not have been achieved without SE support. In Glasgow, the support of Glasgow Service with Style has been crucial, while the new Loch Lomond Destination Management Organisation (DMO) has made progress despite the lack of resort development. Highland Perthshire is also still relatively new and finding its feet, while the Deeside DMO has faced the biggest challenges. Across all six areas from 2008/09 to 2010/11 visitor expenditure rose by 9% in the destinations compared with a fall of 2% in Scotland. Although the number of staying nights fell in the destinations by 2%, the drop was far greater across Scotland which saw a 12% decrease. The additional GVA that could be measured was between £5.6 million and £6.1 million, which is slightly more than the costs of the programme (£5 million). The survey found that 90% of the businesses think that the support has contributed to co-ordination, enthusiasm and commitment, strategic thinking and use of information.


A number of recommendations were made, including some specific to each destination, The report concluded that the destination approach remains an appropriate intervention to support tourism and this is reinforced by the Tourism Scotland 2020 strategy which stresses the importance of destination development. It recommended that a refreshed SE destination strategy takes account of this and provides more clarity. It further recommended that destinations should improve promotion and monitoring of their progress; SE should be involved in the recruitment of destination managers; and there should be closer collaboration between destinations.

Author SQW
Published Year 2013
Report Type Evaluation
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors