Tourism strategy hailed as the ‘dawning of a new era’ at official launch in Glasgow

Scotland’s future tourism strategy, ‘Scotland Outlook 2030’ was officially launched this morning at the Scottish Tourism Alliance Signature Conference in Glasgow.

The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP took to the stage to endorse the strategy, which has the vision of Scotland becoming the world leader in 21st century tourism, and announced a £5.5m funding package over the next five years.

The Scottish Government and Visit Scotland have created the new £5.5 million fund to support the implementation of the strategy which has been developed through a shared vision and strong partnership between the Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Government, VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland.

It has been guided by the Strategy Steering Group with representatives from industry, public bodies and the partner organisations with the input of around 2500 stakeholders.

Scotland Outlook 2030 acknowledges that tourism has a significant role in delivering Scotland’s wider economic strategy, cutting across every sector and is a bold new approach that will see tourism act positively in the common interest of Scotland’s communities, businesses and everyone who visits and stays in Scotland.

It recognises that role of tourism has changed as a result of our climate crisis, advances in technology, EU exit and changes in consumer behaviour which is reflected in the demands of today’s traveller.

The strategy has been developed as a response to this dynamic change and acknowledges the need now for our tourism industry, government, public sector and communities to collectively respond, adapt and work together to deliver responsible, sustainable and managed growth for the future.

Four key priorities have been identified as the cornerstones of the strategy – ‘Our passionate people’, ‘Our thriving places’, ‘Our diverse businesses’ and ‘Our memorable experiences’, each with a set of measurable commitments which will be delivered by government, industry, private and public sector with Scotland’s communities.

The strategy also outlines the challenges and threats to our industry along with the opportunities that can be capitalised on to realise the bold new ambition of being the world leaders in 21st century tourism.

The national tourism conference provided the backdrop for the new strategy launch with the one-and-a-half day event built around four Signature Sessions to mirror the key priorities.  The event, the largest to be staged by the STA welcomed just under 500 delegates and a host of international and homegrown tourism experts.

Themes such as food tourism, sustainability, events and experiences, transport, innovation and building a strong workforce for the future provide the focus for this year’s event and delegates will also hear from tourism experts with experience of delivering bold new tourism strategies in destinations such as Holland, the Faroe Islands and Iceland.

Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland

“I welcome the publication of the new tourism strategy for Scotland. The sector is vitally important to Scotland, supporting more than 200,000 jobs and contributing over £7 billion to our economy.

The Scottish Government and VisitScotland have created a new £5.5 million fund to support the implementation of the strategy, ensuring that the industry is equipped to deal with the demands of modern tourism and is supported to grow sustainably in the years ahead. Scotland is blessed with an abundance of breath-taking scenery and rich historical sites which continue to attract people from across the world.

We must work together to ensure our unrivalled tourism experience is sustainable and this new strategy and supporting fund provide a strong basis for achieving the industry’s ambitions.”

Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance and Chair of the Strategy Steering Group

“As Chair of the Strategy Steering Group and Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, I am absolutely delighted that the importance of Scotland’s tourism industry and its contribution to the wider economy has been recognised with the allocation of what is a hugely significant amount of funding for the delivery of the future tourism strategy.

Tourism is the heartbeat of every destination in Scotland and our sector is made up of proud, passionate people who are totally committed to drive change for the good of all.

Today’s announcement reflects a strong commitment from the Scottish Government to support this bold new ambition; Scotland being the world leader in 21st century tourism and also acknowledges the importance of the strengthened collaborative approach and partnership which exists between industry, Scottish Government and its public agencies.  This is a strategy that will deliver benefits to every person in Scotland, and our visitors.  Today is an extraordinary milestone moment for Scottish tourism.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive VisitScotland:

“Scottish tourism is changing. Advances in technology, environmental concerns and the need to develop new skills are just some of the challenges the industry is set to face as we move through the new decade. The new national tourism strategy seeks to take a sustainable approach to tourism, in which the needs of delivering a world-class experience are not to the detriment of the communities and environments that make Scotland a must-visit destination. We want Scottish tourism and our communities to champion collaboration, lead on innovation, and promote local areas and events, whilst ensuring that tourism is recognised for the positive impact it brings to Scotland.”

Derek McCrindle, Head of Place, Scottish Enterprise:

“The new strategy sets a bold, challenging ambition for Scotland in an increasingly competitive world. It also recognises that to be successful in the minds of our visitors and our communities, we need to think differently and behave differently. Tourism can deliver benefits to all parts of Scotland and the new strategy provides a direction towards which everyone can play their part.”

Anna Miller, Head of Tourism, Highlands and Islands Enterprise

“Scotland’s tourism sector makes a vital contribution to a strong economy and is essential to resilient and thriving rural communities. A sustainable approach to Scotland’s future tourism sector has never been more important and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) welcomes the ambitions of the new strategy to create a positive impact for not just our visitors, but also for Scotland’s people and places. HIE has worked closely with our partners and the industry in contributing to the development of the new strategy and looks forward to continued collaboration and partnership as we move into delivery.”

Lawrence Durden, Tourism Industry Manager, Skills Development Scotland

Skills Development Scotland is delighted to support the new Tourism Strategy ‘Scotland Outlook 2030’. This has been developed through a strong partnership approach between industry and the private sector and delivers a bold vision for 21st century tourism in Scotland with people and communities at the heart of the strategy.”

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