Tourism generated more than £110m of economic impact and employed nearly 2000 workers across the Falkirk area according to a recent report (9 January) from Falkirk Council.
The figures (based on 2016 information) also showed increases in the number of day visitors to the area as well as the numbers of visitors staying in paid accommodation.
Day visitors to the area totalled 496k for 2016 compared with 448k for 2015 representing a 10.9% increase. Similarly, economic impact generated rose from £105.7m in 2015 to £110.2m in 2016, a rise of 4.3%.
Total visitors to the most popular attractions locally saw The Helix draw nearly 560k, the Falkirk Wheel, 538k and the Mariner Centre 206k in 2016.
The report also detailed the work to formalise an industry led tourism partnership for the Falkirk area made up from local tourism operators and businesses and will help open up opportunities to apply for additional external funding opportunities.
Councillor Robert Spears, spokesperson for Culture, Leisure and Tourism said: “The work carried out by Falkirk Council and its partners to boost tourism across the area is bringing big economic benefits both in terms of economic impact and employment.
“It’s clear that there are many significant future opportunities to benefit from in promoting the local area to home and overseas visitors alike and we are certain that the Falkirk’s areas many attractions, will continue to increase visitor spending in the coming years.
“The success of the recent Visit Scotland Growth Fund which resulted in the creation of three new videos which have been viewed by over half a million people highlights the high levels of interest in the Falkirk area as a Tourist Destination.”
Kevin Roach, Chair of the Falkirk Area Tourism Partnership said: “To date there has been great progress made as well as an effective partnership formed between Falkirk Council and its partners. This has given us a great foundation to work from and we look forward to continuing this in the coming years, working together with Falkirk Council to fulfil the targets set out within the Falkirk Area Tourism Strategy 2020.”
The report also provided a summary of the new Visit Scotland Tourism “Industry Barometer” for the Falkirk area which surveyed more than 200 local tourism businesses throughout the Falkirk area and results for the second quarter of 2017 showed:
- 25% of businesses saw an increase in full time staff and 38% part-time staff compared to the same period in 2016;
- 31% plan to invest significantly in their business in the future;
- 63% of businesses had seen an increase in customer/visitor/guest numbers compared to the same period in the previous year.
The figures come as a result of the ongoing work as part of the Falkirk Area Tourism Strategy which was launched in 2015 by Falkirk Council after consultation with tourism businesses and national agencies and has three targets to meet by 2020:
- Increase visitor expenditure in the Falkirk area by 20% between 2015 and 2020;
- Increase overnight visitor accommodation in Falkirk by 20% between 2015 and 2020;
- Develop a new Falkirk Area Tourism Partnership to run the strategy