Skip to main content

Wildlife trail generates millions for economy

Press Release   •   Jan 09, 2017 13:39 GMT

The Galloway Kite Trail - Bellymack Hill Farm Red Kite Feeding Station, Laurieston, near Castle Douglas. Credit VisitScotland

People visiting Dumfries and Galloway to see the region’s red kites have contributed over £8.2m to the local economy, a new report has found.

These birds of prey were re-introduced to an area north of Castle Douglas from 2001 and two years later the Galloway Kite Trail – a self guided tour circling Loch Ken - was launched as a partnership project led by RSPB Scotland.

An economic survey carried out by the conservation organisation found that between 2004 and 2015 the trail attracted over 100,000 visitors to the area and that £8.2m of spending was directly attributable to people who came to the region to see red kites. On average, the trail also supported the equivalent of 19 full-time jobs each year - however that figure rose to 21 in 2015.

Calum Murray, RSPB Scotland Community Liaison Officer, said:

“The re-introduction of red kites has been a massive conservation success story and we now have over 100 pairs breeding in Dumfries and Galloway, but this survey clearly demonstrates how nature can bring economic benefits to areas as well.

“Tourists are visiting the Galloway Kite Trail from all over the UK and many are coming here especially to see our amazing red kites. The report also shows the fantastic support that is being given to the trail by local businesses and many of our visitors are now making repeat trips!”

The Galloway Kite Trail is a community based project facilitated by RSPB Scotland, in partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland and Bellymack Hill Farm, which takes visitors to some of the best locations in the region to see red kites - as well as promoting activities and services provided by local businesses.

Overall visitors to the Galloway Kite Trail spent an estimated £54.6million in the region.

Doug Wilson, VisitScotland Regional Director, said:

“The Galloway Kite Trail has been a fabulous success story, in many more ways than one. As an ambitious nature conservation project, it has achieved outstanding results in terms of increasing red kite numbers, educating the public about these spectacular birds of prey and raising awareness of RSPB Scotland’s superb efforts to protect them and their habitat and encourage breeding.

“The Kite Trail has also become an outstanding asset in Dumfries and Galloway’s incredible portfolio of outdoors activity attractions, giving visitors another great reason to come to the beautiful Galloway Forest Park and explore the stunning Loch Ken area. Having attracted well over 100,000 visitors, the trail has delivered significant benefits to tourism within the region and the impact on our local economy has been tremendous.”

Red kites were persecuted to extinction in Scotland in the 19th century but have now made a comeback in many parts of the country. These graceful birds, which are slightly longer-winged than buzzards, feed mainly on carrion and small mammals and often come together in groups during the winter to roost.

Kites are now breeding in all three vice-counties in Dumfries and Galloway with a nesting pair discovered near Stranraer in Wigtownshire last year. A total of 105 breeding pairs were counted in surveys in summer 2016, with at least 120 young fledged.

- ENDS -

For further information please contact: Calum Murray, RSPB Scotland Community Liaison Officer, on 01556 670464 or 07787 152333 or email: calum.murray@rspb.org.uk.

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 seven overarching strategies:
    1. 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
    2. 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
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit www.gov.scot or follow @scotgovESIF
  • 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
  • For information about business events in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com
  • 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