FSB Warning: Mountain to climb to reach government visitor target

Thursday May 21st 2015

FSB Tourism

Official figures just released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that tourism visits and expenditure in Scotland increased during 2014. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has welcomed the figures but has warned that there’s a mountain to climb to reach the government target of increasing visitor spending to £5.5 billion by 2020.

Andy Willox, the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Scottish policy convenor, said: “Tourism is a huge part of Scotland’s economy, contributing over 10% of GDP and generating 185,000 jobs – many of them in the army of small tourism businesses.

“2014 should have been a bumper year for Scottish tourism. While today’s figures are good, the question is whether they’re good enough given the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup raised the country’s profile to new heights.

“The Scottish Government and the wider industry has a mountain to climb to reach its own tourism spend target. With just 5 years to go to permanently increase spending by £800 million, we need to have a public debate about whether we’re taking the right approach.

“Our recent report highlighted that many Scottish small tourism firms struggle grow – in part due to poor digital and transport infrastructure and problems in accessing affordable finance. Further, many small firms aren’t connected to national and local tourism initiatives. Tackling these issues has to be a priority.”

The FSB is the UK’s leading business organisation with around around 19,000 in Scotland, a quarter of whom operate a tourism business

The FSB’s 2014 report looking at small businesses in tourism in Scotland can be found HERE.

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