Monday, 10 August 2009

The Ups and Downs of Scottish Tourism

On July 24th, VisitScotland finally owned up to what had been obvious to many - that numbers of visitors to Scotland last year were down by over one million - an eight percent drop. They announced that tourist spending fell by four percent, down £156 million, of which £113 million was attributed to business tourism, with business spending down by fourteen percent.
In truth, these figures, in time of recession, weren't all that bad - and came as no surprise to all those who have felt over the years that VisitScotland were past masters of the art of telling porkies ayway. A refreshing change to hear something believable.
Ah yes, but that was then - this is now - just a couple of weeks later.
Today VisitScotland reportedly made the announcement that a record £63.5 million was generated in Scotland through tourism last year. They said the drive to encourage people to visit during the quieter tourist months brought in £17 million more than the previous year ....
Confused? Yup, so am I. These figures seem to bear no relation to the reality on our streets last year, and don't seem to match up in any way to the earlier figures. Somewhere along the line, we're obviously comparing apples with pears - but the biggest question is are VisitScotland statistics rotten apples?

1 comment:

  1. A good blog, thank you.
    Absolutely right, I didn't know what the new VS figures could possibly relate to.
    VisitScotland does a good job through its advertising and pr agencies in promotion generally. They spend far too much on overseas junkets which relate to only 11% of our tourism industry and not enough on keeping Scots at home, and attracting the people in England, our biggest market. Try getting a breakdown of the figures though. But Scotland's promotion is good.

    Where they fall down is in the booking side of their business and their ratings of properties. They are quite good at spending money, no good at all in earning it. Far too bureaucratic, and measuring the wrong things. ("No woollen carpet in the lounge, you can't have 4 stars, then. You've got a wonderful view and an architect designed property but we cannot give you credit for that. Your customer care standards are exemplary, but we cannot give you credit for that either.)
    I'm in self catering in the Highlands, just one little cottage which we maintain to the highest possible standard.
    I would no dream of belonging to VS unles I was forced to by legislation. Unfortunately I think this is going to happen.
    They are going to make everyone have an inspection - not a bad thing, the best amongst us agree. But to have it administered by VS will be to get them out of a financial hole, overpriced, and subject us to a mass of tick boxing.
    Please get everyone you know to say "No" to this when it happens. It will. Watch this space.
    John Winkler.