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Record-breaking year for Scottish beaches

Press Release   •   May 30, 2014 00:00 BST

The winners of the 2014 Scottish Seaside Awards have been announced by the independent environmental charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful, with more beaches than ever receiving credit for environmental quality and an exceptional seaside experience.

A record-breaking 61 beaches have been recognised this year for their good water quality and excellent litter, safety, and environmental management procedures. Beaches flying the Seaside Award flag range from Dornoch Beach in the north east to Maidens Beach in South Ayrshire which has won the award for the first time.

The awards for 2014 have been unveiled by Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing MSP, during a visit to Nairn Beach. Celebrating some of the cleanest and best managed beaches in the country, the Seaside Award scheme has been used as a quality benchmark for Scotland's beaches for the past 22 years – with St Andrews West Sands in Fife, and Gullane Bents in East Lothian, winning every year since the awards were first introduced. Seaside Awards help signpost visitors to the best managed areas of Scotland’s seaside and coastline.

The most recent visitor figures show that in 2013, the Year of Natural Scotland, there was an increase in the share of seaside holidays to 17% (from 14%) of all holiday trips.

Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing MSP, said: “Scotland has some of the best beaches in the world – from traditional bucket and spade resorts to remote rural locations – and this highest level of Seaside Awards is evidence of the quality and experience that they offer to visitors and locals alike.

“Our natural environment is an important reason as to why people visit Scotland, which we celebrated last year during Year of Natural Scotland. Our beaches play a large part in this, and it is fantastic to see so many gain accolades through the Seaside Awards, and the work that beach managers and Keep Scotland Beautiful do in ensuring this.

“We love Nairn beaches and visit them regularly at the request of our daughter. They and the walks beside them are enjoyed by generations and generations of families.”

Mark Bevan, Head of Campaigns at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said, “Scotland’s beaches have something for everyone to enjoy – excellent environmental quality, bustling promenades, secluded bays and biodiversity rich shores, therefore, maintaining standards is vitally important.

“Keep Scotland Beautiful is working to improve the quality of our local environment across the country, and we know that beaches are an important asset for local communities and their economies so it is great to announce so many awards in recognition of excellent management this year.”

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “Recent figures suggested an increase in seaside holidays in Scotland in 2013, so it is clear that visitors really do love to beside the seaside. This is great news for Scottish tourism and coastal communities and comes on the back of a growing trend towards seaside and rural locations following the success of the Year of Natural Scotland. In this year, when Scotland welcomes the world, it is more important than ever to have our stunning coastlines in tip top condition if we want to continue attracting visitors. I applaud the award winners and Keep Scotland Beautiful for its hard work in ensuring that our beaches offer a great day out.”

A map showing all the award-winning beaches with descriptions, directions, facilities and pictures can be found at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/coastal. There is also a new facility to enable people to choose the type of beach they wish to visit and an option for rating their favourite beaches.

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. Keep Scotland Beautiful is Scotland’s leading force acting, campaigning and training others to clean up local environments and to change the behaviour which blights our urban and rural landscape; it is part of its work to help make Scotland clean and green, today and tomorrow. Further details at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org

2. The Scottish Seaside Awards scheme is one of two beach awards scheme run by Keep Scotland Beautiful. The programme exists to reward good beach management, which increases the pleasure local people derive from their beach and also benefits the local economy through an expansion in tourism. The Seaside Award is also administered in Wales by Keep Wales Tidy and Northern Ireland by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful. Further details at: http://www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/coastal

3. Media enquiries to Peter Duncan on 07740 469949.

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 has three key roles:
  1. To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
  2. To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
  3. To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • 2014 is the year Scotland welcomes the world, when it hosts the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 800 Homecoming events throughout the country.For more information on Homecoming Scotland 2014, go to www.visitscotland.com 
  • The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face-to-face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24 million for Scotland’s economy. 
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/ 
  • 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 www.visitscotland.com
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  • For more information on VisitScotland’s annual review please go to www.visitscotland.org/about_us/our_focus/annual_report.aspx