South of Scotland MSP, Colin Smyth has today (6 June) welcomed a new report which has showed tourism in Dumfries and Galloway has grown- with the region scoring one of the highest rates for return visitors.
A report by Visit Scotland into tourism in Dumfries and Galloway which covers 2015 and 2016 showed the number of people coming to the area has increased.
Dumfries and Galloway scored the one of the highest rating for the number of people returning to the area on holiday with 43% of all tourists coming here because they ‘holidayed here before and wanted to return’. This compares to the Scotland wide statistics of 24%.
In total 826,000 overnight stays occurred in 2015 with 96% of these visits from people within the UK.
A total of £175 million was spent by tourists during this time with the largest overseas market being Germany, USA and France.
The vast majority of people visited Dumfries and Galloway because of the scenery and landscape with 63% of people sighting that as the reason for them coming here.
70% of visitors said they came to the area to sightsee and 61% coming for walking, hiking or strolling activities.
Visitors to Dumfries & Galloway were very positive about their overall experience with 95% giving a satisfaction rating of 7 or more out of 10. Three-fifths of visitors gave the highest ratings of 9 or 10 for their trip to Dumfries & Galloway. These top 2 scores (9 or 10) show genuine satisfaction and can foster loyalty. The challenge is to continue to improve the visitor experience to encourage more visitors to give the highest scores on the satisfaction scale.
A similarly high proportion of visitors said they would recommend Dumfries & Galloway as a holiday destination to family or friends – 95% scoring 7-10 out of 10. Two-thirds gave 9 or 10 ratings on the recommendation scale, indicating a strong likelihood of telling friends and family about their positive experience in Dumfries & Galloway.
Colin Smyth MSP said, “Tourism is vital to our region, supporting over 7,000 jobs and bringing over £300m into the local economy each year. These figures are really encouraging and show not only the strength of the sector but the great deal of potential Dumfries and Galloway has as a tourist region.
What is especially encouraging is that 43% of tourists had been to the area before and were returning to holiday again. That is an incredible figure and shows that once we attract people and see our area as a place to come on holiday they love it and want to come again.
Crucially though we need to use these successes as a way to build our economy. The council, Visit Scotland and Scottish Government can all do more to attract people to our area. Dumfries and Galloway still invests sustainably less in tourism than other areas in the country. Imagine the success that could come from our area having the same level of investment that some other regions get?
These results show that Dumfries and Galloway if supported can be a real tourist hub, but only if the ambition and passion of the people and businesses here is matched by investment from the Scottish Government, Council and visitScotland”