Potential for adventure

Press release   •   Jun 18, 2019 13:59 BST

SUPPORTING industry to grow the adventure tourism offering across Scotland was the key theme of a leading industry conference today (18 June).

Over 100 delegates attended the dedicated practitioner day as part of the International Adventure Conference taking place in Dumfries & Galloway this week. Supported by VisitScotland, the event aimed to provide inspiration and advice to adventure tourism and adventure recreation industries.

Delegates heard from a series of international industry experts before attending practical workshop sessions covering topics from marketing to health and safety.

The key note address was given by Brian Young, Managing Director of global travel adventure company G Adventures. Supported by a video from G Adventures founder Bruce Boon Tip, he discussed the importance of accountability and working with partners to elevate best practice.

Other guest speakers included: Deputy Director for Tourism & Major Events at the Scottish Government, Bettina Sizeland; Founder of The FlipFlopi Project, Ben Morrison; Head of Strategic Partnerships at VisitBritain, Emily Moore; Convener of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, James Stuart.

VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director Paula Ward said: “We’re absolutely delighted to help support this international conference taking place in the South of Scotland, a region renowned for its natural beauty and variety of activities and outdoor pursuits on offer.

“This international event is an opportunity to show off the South of Scotland as a world class destination for adventure tourism and to build on our reputation as a place to visit, to live and to develop new ideas. With a UNESCO Biosphere designation and the home of the Europe’s First Dark Sky Park, as well as excellent green credentials, we have a real opportunity to put the South of Scotland firmly on the map as a place that embraces sustainability and is a destination worth talking about."

Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“It’s great to have this global gathering in Dumfries and Galloway, as it is an excellent opportunity to promote Scotland’s destinations and expertise to industry leaders.

“We already have a thriving adventure tourism sector but we are keen to do more to drive economic growth and increase our visitor offer. The Scottish Government has invested in exciting projects such as developing mountain biking at Glentress, supporting marine tourism infrastructure in Ayrshire, and an increased focus on adventure tourism through our Growth and City deals. In addition to Scotland’s spectacular scenery, these new developments continue to boost Scotland’s appeal as an adventure tourism destination.

“As we approach the 2020 Year of Coasts and Waters we are keen to ensure that the adventure tourism sector continues to grow and caters for the tastes of all visitors, be it through connecting with our coastline, exploring our caves or camping in our forests.” 

Duncan McConchie, Director of Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre and Chair of the local organising committee, said: “We have received a fantastic response to this The International Adventure Conference on a local and international level and it is a fantastic achievement for Dumfries & Galloway to host such a prestigious event that will help shine the spotlight on the country as a world-leading destination for adventure tourism. We will continue to work with our industry partners to build on the success of this event and explore opportunities to tap into this growing market.”

Adventure tourism has been identified as an area for growth within Scotland. Tourism Scotland 2020, the national tourism strategy, highlights ‘activities and adventure’ as a sector with real potential and already worth an estimated £759 million to the economy.

The week-long conference, which is led by the Adventure Tourism Research Association (ATRA), is taking place between June 17th to 21st.

Dr Steve Taylor, Head of the Centre for Recreation and Tourism Research, University of the Highlands and Islands, and one of the founding members of ATRA, said:

“We are delighted that this year’s International Adventure Conference has attracted such an influential range of speakers for the kick-off practitioner day and been so well attended by the adventure tourism community. This is the seventh iteration of the event, which started in Scotland in 2012 and has since been hosted in countries across Europe. This year we are attracting leading academics and practitioners from as far afield as South Africa, Canada and New Zealand. We are proud to welcome new colleagues and old friends alike to this wonderful corner of Scotland to discuss the exciting future of the adventure tourism sector and how the adventure tourism industry can reflect, promote and conduce the United Nations’ sustainable development goals – the inspirational theme of this year’s academic conference”.

For more information on the conference, visit

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by five overarching strategies: Marketing, Events, Quality and Sustainability, Inclusive Tourism, International Engagement.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business tourism in Scotland go to

Scotland’s Themed Years

  • Following an industry consultation, the Themed Years will now take place every second year to enable more time for planning and opportunities for collaboration.
  • 2020 has been designated as a year in which Scotland’s Coasts and Waters will be showcased and celebrated with a programme of activity designed to support the nation’s tourism and events sectors.
  • The year, led by VisitScotland will sustain and build upon the momentum of Scotland’s preceding Themed Years to spotlight, celebrate and promote opportunities to experience and enjoy Scotland’s unrivalled Coasts and Waters, encouraging responsible engagement and participation from the people of Scotland and our visitors.
  • A year-long programme of events, activities and ideas will shine a spotlight on the impact our waters have had on Scotland, from the formation of beautiful natural features to the creation of our national drink – whisky.
  • Join the conversation using #YCW2020
  • 2022 will be the Year of Scotland’s Stories - a celebration of our rich literature, film, oral traditions and myths and legends.