Marine tourism worth estimated £3.7 billion

Berwickshire's coastline is a tourist magnet
Berwickshire's coastline is a tourist magnet

Results of Scotland’s first survey of marine recreation and tourism results are in revealing that the country’s coastline brings in an estimated £3.7 billion per year.

A total of over 2100 individuals, 137 clubs and 279 businesses took part in survey, mapping their activities and answering questions about their favourite pastimes and the Scottish Government is now looking at repeating the survey every five years.

The survey looked at 23 pastimes and the results show that £1.3 billion of expenditure comes from specialist marine activities including wildlife watching, sailing, kayaking, surfing and angling.

Survey information shows that expenditure on general recreation and tourism like beach combing, short walks and coastal cycling amounts to £2.4 billion.

Scotland’s coastline was divided into eleven regions, the Berwickshire and East Lothian coastline included in the Forth and Tay region.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment, Richard Lochhead said: “Our seas are the jewel in Scotland’s natural crown.

“They provide energy, food and are a massive draw for visitors from home and abroad. Marine tourism and recreation expenditure in Scotland amounts to £3.7 billion per year, supporting jobs, increasing participation in sports and recreational activities and showcasing Scotland as a world class destination.

“This survey is a significant step forward and will help us understand more about the economic value of the sector and information about the type of visitors/participants and the requirements to support sustainable development of the sector.”

Rhona Fairgrieve, Scottish Coastal Forum manager said: “This innovative project has made a substantial contribution towards filling the gaps in data relating to marine recreational activities.

“The findings in relation to the value of expenditure on the activities are significant and are welcomed as an addition to information on social, economic and environmental uses of Scotland’s coastal and marine resources.”