Can the Scottish Government realistically achieve its aim for a 50% increase in tourism revenue by 2015? This is just one of the questions posed by the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee in its call for evidence on the feasibility of the Scottish Government’s ambition for tourism growth.
In 2006 the then Scottish Executive published a report on Scottish Tourism containing recommendations for the sector over the next decade. From this the Scottish Government has adopted an ambition for a 50% increase in revenue from tourism by 2015.
The committee considers this to be a challenge for the Scottish tourism sector and wishes to explore a number of factors affecting the industry’s ability to deliver the increase. These factors include investment in the industry, availability of skilled staff, quality of Scotland’s transport infrastructure and the quality of the visitor experience.
The Committee’s Convener, Tavish Scott MSP, said:
"Tourism is one of Scotland’s main industries and one of the fastest growing sectors of the world economy.
"While it is important that Scotland keeps pace with this expected growth, the committee is concerned that the intention to increase tourism revenue by 50% is overly ambitious unless significant steps are taken.
"This inquiry will focus upon the key challenges to meeting this ambition and effective measures to overcome these.”
The committee would like to hear from individuals and organisations with an interest in the Scottish tourism industry.
Key questions to be considered by the Committee include:
What are the specific challenges in Scotland ’s tourism industry in relation to skills, training, quality standards, service levels and leadership and how can these be overcome?
What are the other challenges in meeting the growth ambition and what can be done by both the public and private sectors to overcome these?
What are the implications of the Scottish Government’s plans for VisitScotland, how will its role change, particularly in relation to its relationship with the formed enterprise network and Scottish Development International, and its increased responsibilities for attracting international visitors?
The closing date for receipt of written submissions is 19 December 2007.
The World Tourism Organisation is forecasting growth in spending by tourists of 4-5% per annum through to 2020. If Scotland were to keep pace with this expected growth in world tourism spending then revenue would increase 50% by 2015.
In March 2006, the then Scottish Executive published Scottish Tourism: The Next Decade - A Tourism Framework for Change and adopted an ‘ambition’ of a 50% growth in revenue by 2015 for the industry. The document also noted that the nature of tourism is changing and that the Scottish tourism sector would have to adapt if it is to obtain a share of this growth.