Whether it’s wandering on one of 26 long-distance routes or bagging one of the country’s 282 impressive Munros, Scotland is renowned for its memorable walking opportunities with new figures revealing the market generates up to £1.26 billion to the Scottish economy.
The research by VisitScotland found that in 2015, 4 million trips by visitors from the UK included walking as an activity, with figures broken down into short walks (up to 2 miles) and long walks (minimum of 2 miles). The latter increased by almost a fifth (18%) on the previous year.
To celebrate the country’s walking routes, VisitScotland has created a special video offering an exclusive bird’s eye view of the breathtaking landscapes visitors can enjoy when walking in Scotland. A Unique Perspective - Walking in Scotland was shot in the Cairngorms around Aviemore and includes views of the Green Lochan, Ruthven Barracks, the Highland Folk Museum, Loch Morlich and Loch an Eilein.
From the West Highland Way to the Great Glen Way, the Hebridean Way to the John Muir Way, Scotland is famed for its long-distance walking routes, many of which pass through some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes.
Walking was most popular with those aged 55-64 but millennials made up over a quarter (26%) of visitors participating in long walks.
The country is also known for its many country parks which are a popular draw for families and dog owners. In 2015, as measured by the Visitor Attraction Monitor, Strathclyde Country Park in Motherwell emerged as the most popular outdoor attraction welcoming more than 5.4 million visitors, while Rouken Glen Park in Giffnock enjoyed impressive yearly growth, increasing visitor numbers between 2014-2015 by more than a fifth.
Walking also emerged as one of the most popular activity pages on the VisitScotland website, with ‘munro-bagging’ viewed on average 68 times per day in 2016.
With a growing interest in health and wellbeing, the national tourism organisation believes walking as part of a holiday could become even more popular in 2017.
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: “From the West Highland Way and the Cairngorms, to country parks and city-based strolls, Scotland is famous for its stunning scenery and there is no better way to enjoy it than on foot. Scotland is an extremely accessible destination. The Walkers Welcome scheme and the Right to Access policy make it incredibly easy for outdoor enthusiasts to travel around the country.
“The growing interest in health and wellbeing presents a fantastic opportunity for Scotland to promote itself, not only through its inspiring landscapes but also through the health benefits of walking and being outdoors. VisitScotland continues to work with communities to showcase the rich assets, hidden gems and local stories in every region in Scotland.”
For further statistics about walking in Scotland visit: http://www.visitscotland.org/pdf/VisitScotlandInsightWalking2017.pdf
Notes to Editors
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- 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 seven overarching strategies:
- Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
- Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
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- The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
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- 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) 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
- 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
- For more information visit visitscotland.com/HHA2017 or join the conversation at #HHA2017