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Press Release: Publication of Tourism Strategy Mid-term Review

17 May 2016

Collaboration and a call to focus on growth priorities are two of the key findings which will be announced to industry today as tourism leaders address over 500 delegates at the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) Annual Conference at the EICC in Edinburgh.


The national tourism conference, a two-day industry event marks the end of Scottish Tourism Week 2016 which has seen the STA team travel circa 3,500 miles across the length and breadth of the country to support over 25 locally organised destination events, with the aim of engaging over 2020 businesses in the tourism conversation.


The findings announced today come from a mid-term review of the national tourism strategy, Tourism Scotland 2020, and the outcome will be announced at a special conference session at 3pm today ‘TS2020 – Staying on Track’ led by Stephen Leckie, Chair of the STA and the Tourism Leadership Group.


Launched in 2012, Tourism Scotland 2020 aims to increase visitor spend by £1bn by 2020 by targeting specific markets that would offer the industry the greatest growth potential. Focussing on collaboration within and across Scotland’s tourism destinations, the vision of the Strategy is ‘to make Scotland a destination of first choice for a high quality, value for money and memorable customer experience, delivered by skilled and passionate people.’


Since its launch, hundreds of tourism businesses, associations, organisations and individuals have been involved with projects and initiatives to drive the change needed to achieve the TS2020 vision, with full support from all key public agencies and the Scottish Government.


The mid term review has highlighted:


Based on existing activities, the sector may fall short of the 2020 £5.5bn visitor spend target by £0.3bn, however with focus on specific four key priorities the sector will be able to close the gap to 2020 and lay the foundations for sustained growth beyond 2020 to 2030

Four new key growth priorities have been announced as:

Strengthen Digital Capability


Strengthen Industry Leadership


Enhance the Quality of Visitor Experience


Influence Investment (specifically flight access and transport connectivity, built infrastructure, digital connectivity and business growth finance)


Collaboration has been one of the main achievements to date and needs to continue. There has been real partnership by the industry to get behind the strategy and also by the public agencies to support it

Speaking about the results of the TS2020 Mid-Term Review, Chair of Scottish Tourism Alliance and Strategy Leadership Group Stephen Leckie commented, “Our findings have reinforced what we already knew; that despite Scotland’s high profile over the last two years, the industry cannot rest on its laurels. Growth will not come to us, we need to go out and find it and localising the strategy to ensure that industry understands and responds to key messages at a local level through their own destination and sector strategy is going to be key to the delivery of our ambitious but achievable growth ambition. Collaboration with industry working as one will be the glue which bonds businesses in Scotland together to leverage tourism as the most important driver to Scotland’s economy.


Marc Crothall, CEO of the STA said; “The influence and reach of the STA continues to grow; membership has increased and as the voice of tourism in Scotland, we are frequently asked to represent industry at Scotland and UK levels. We submitted our Policy Agenda for the 2016-2020 Scottish Government – ‘A Tourism Industry Manifesto for Growth & Competitiveness Towards 2020’ and we’re delighted to have received such strong support from the Scottish Government in response to some of our key asks for industry. We welcome the planned future discussions around VAT at UK government level and the announcement of the Scottish Government 12-week consultation period with the industry around the proposed reductions to APD.”


He continued; “The STA will focus our strengthened position on raising awareness and understanding that ‘tourism is everyone’s business’, linking all parts of the Scottish economy to maintain the competitiveness of Scottish tourism and Scottish businesses internationally. Building on our already strong partnerships and collaboration within the tourism industry across public, private and third sectors will allow us greater focus, efficiency and impact and we are calling on industry today to get behind the refreshed strategic framework for growth.”


Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said, “This industry-owned strategy has already delivered significant progress in growing Scotland’s tourist industry, with overnight and day visitor expenditure up to around £9.7 billion in 2014 and attracting 104 conferences across the country.  The successful completion of the mid-term review will allow us all to renew our focus on the key priorities – increasing our digital presence, influencing investment decisions and enhancing the quality of our visitor experience – that will only accelerate this growth.”


Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Tourism is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and remains strong in the face of a difficult economic backdrop and uncertainty in travel. In the last 12 months there has been a 7% increase in visitors and an 8% increase in spend, while new direct air routes are strengthening connectivity, but we cannot be complacent. Last month saw the launch of our first ever global marketing campaign and social movement – the Spirit of Scotland.  Collaboration within the industry will be key to its success, and we look forward to continuing to work with our tourism partners to further enhance the visitor experience and create an attractive, innovative and inspirational destination for visitors.”


Click here for full details of the Mid-term review.


– ends –


Press Contacts:


Please contact Mhairi Clarke, PR Manager at the Scottish Tourism Alliance at 07809 558 375 



Notes to Editors:


  1. The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) was formed in 2012, an evolution of the Scottish Tourism Forum which was established in 1998 to act as the Industry Leadership Group for tourism and the leading voice for the tourism sector in Scotland.
  2. The role of the STA is also to ‘lead on industry matters’, collaborating with and representing industry views to government and agencies, bringing public and private players together to encourage the voicing of opinion about problems and priorities to find solutions.
  3. The organisation also leads the facilitation and co-ordination of the ongoing development and delivery of the National Strategy: Tourism Scotland 2020, industry wide, the strategy ambition being to make Scotland a destination of first choice for a high quality, value for money and memorable customer experience.
  4. One of the Scottish Tourism Alliance’s key objectives is to help support individual businesses, marketing services, trade associations, local area tourism groups and any organisation with an active interest in tourism to realise their potential by maximising and building on opportunities to ensure future growth of our industry.
  5. The STA also acts as the united voice of the Scottish tourism industry to represent the key issues which act as barriers to growth and bring about the changes needed at all levels to ensure future growth of the tourism industry and the economy.
  6. The STA has circa 70% -75% of the tourism sector as Members either directly and indirectly through association with and Membership has trebled in three years and continues to grow.
  7. Scottish Tourism Week 2016 will see over 25 events held across the length and breadth of Scotland before the tourism industry gathers at Edinburgh’s EICC for the Scottish Tourism Alliance Signature Conference on the 17th and 18th March.
  8. This year’s event has been designed to connect over 2020 businesses across Scotland into the tourism conversation over the course of the week. The STA will take the key messages linked to the national strategy mid-term review out to industry across Scotland with the aim being not only to achieve the aspirational growth target of £5.5 billion but to inspire all to achieve the Tourism 2020 vision, that ‘Scotland will be a destination of first choice for a high quality, value for money and memorable customer experience, delivered by skilled and passionate people.

For more information on the STA and the National Strategy: Tourism Scotland 2020 please visit or call 01786 459 235

For more information about STW, please visit

Last Modified: Monday 01 August 2016 06:14
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