A new report has revealed just how important Scotland's amazing landscape and and abundant wildlife are to the economy. The study by Scottish Natural heritage (SNH) shows that "nature-based tourism" is worth £1.4 billion to Scotland. It also supports some 39,000 full-time jobs.
When you take a closer look at the report Scotland benefits by £900 million thanks to walking and landscape enjoyment. People visit Scotland for a wide range of walks, from gentle strolls to mountain challenges.
Of course, we already knew that many people come to Scotland - or stay for a holiday on home turf - to enjoy walking pursuits and holidays. But it's great to have this confirmed by an investigative report. Indeed, we're delighted to be part of this growth industry.
The SNH research also found that wildlife tourism, including bird watching, whale watching, guided walks and practical conservation holidays, brings in £127m and is the main reason for more than one million trips to Scotland each year.
Adventure activities, such as mountain biking, canoeing and kayaking, are worth £178m.
Commenting on the study, Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said: “Scotland’s wonderful natural environment and fascinating wildlife have so much to offer and it’s exciting that there are visitors coming here to appreciate our world-class landscape.
“Tourists obviously enjoy what they see and there’s such a wide variety of activities on offer, whether it’s walking in the glens, spotting some of Scotland’s iconic species or getting involved in conservation.
"Nature based tourism generates significant benefits for the economy, including thousands of jobs. It’s vital that work on the conservation and enhancement of our natural environment continues to ensure we can deliver these benefits for generations to come.”
Ian Jardine, SNH chief executive, added: “We have always known that landscapes and wildlife are one of the main reasons why visitors come to Scotland. We also know that enjoying nature is one of the key activities they like to do when they get here.
"Now we know just how important that is to the economy of Scotland. With spending on nature activities worth nearly 40% of all tourism spending, nature-based tourism can generate significant benefits for the economy."
Great news indeed!