Country sports tourism boost

International visitors have enjoyed grouse shooting in the Lammermuirs.
International visitors have enjoyed grouse shooting in the Lammermuirs.

The country sports tourism industry in the Borders defied the odds this year with its enduring international appeal by boosting foreign visitors and overnight stays.

Following the official end of the grouse shooting season on December 10, estates and sporting agents across the country are reporting a favourable season in terms of the tourism benefit to rural Scotland.

Figures from three estates in the Lammermuirs Moorland Group resulted in 811 overnight stays with one estate in particular reporting a good season, accounting for 616 overnight stays with international visitors coming from USA, France and Portugal.

The Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group (SCSTG) this week launched its new ‘Game for Growth’ strategy which aims to increase the value of country sports to the Scottish economy by £30 million over the next three years – bringing the total to £185 million.

VisitScotland is also committed to boosting Scotland’s country sports tourism sector and has announced a matched Growth Fund to support SCSTG’s ambition and enhance its marketing strategy for 2017 to help establish its digital presence in international markets.

Sarah Troughton, Chair of SCSTG, said: “Our vision for Scotland’s fishing, shooting and stalking industry is that it will become the global country sport tourism destination of choice known for its sustainable, premium quality and diverse Scottish offering, unsurpassed by any other country in the world”.