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Latest stats show ‘Staycationers’ spend £240m in Scotland’s National Parks

29th July 2013

Cairngorms and Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Parks welcome one million domestic visitors annually

As the Cairngorms and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Parks celebrate National Parks Week 29 July – 4 August, new VisitScotland research has revealed their importance to the Scottish economy.

The Scottish National Parks Sector Review: 2012 reveals that last year both parks welcomed over a million people from the United Kingdom and Ireland, with the Cairngorms National Park accounting for 570,000 visitors and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park generating a further 482,000.

These park-loving visitors contributed £243m to the Scottish economy – an increase in spend of 25% on the previous year (2011).

The report gives a detailed insight into the habits of the parks’ visitors, their favourite activities such as sightseeing and rambling, and where they come from, with Loch Lomond welcoming the most Germans and the Cairngorms most Americans.

As key partners in the Year of Natural Scotland 2013 campaign, both parks have been playing an integral role in the initiative, embracing projects such as the search for Scotland’s Big 5 animals, as well as holding their own events throughout the year.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland and former Convener of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, said: “Our two National Parks play a vital role in the Scottish tourism economy, and our domestic visitors contribute hugely to this. This year’s celebrations for the Year of Natural Scotland have provided a fantastic opportunity to promote these treasured idylls, and we hope that these tremendous figures will grow even further.”

Fiona Logan, CEO of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park: “We are committed to providing a high quality visitor experience for the millions of people who come and enjoy the rich and diverse landscape Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park has to offer. We have worked hard to raise the quality of the National Park as a destination and have invested in visitor infrastructure such as piers and pontoons, water bus services and our National Park ranger service. These latest visitor figures are credit not only to the stunning natural beauty of our National Parks but also the quality service provided by our tourism businesses.”

Grant Moir, Chief Executive of the Cairngorms National Park Authority, added: “The Cairngorms National Park is an outstanding holiday destination with fantastic scenery, an abundance of wildlife and great facilities available all year round. Whether its action and adventure or peace and tranquillity that people are looking for, it’s all here. Scotland’s National Parks are very young compared to others in the UK and across the globe – the Cairngorms National Park celebrates its 10th birthday this year, a mere youngster – yet it’s making a significant contribution to the Scottish economy. It has certainly proved a very popular destination with the rise of the “staycation” in recent years and with the weather we’ve had recently, why go anywhere else.”

To celebrate National Parks Week and the Year of Natural Scotland, VisitScotland is supporting the Get Active event at Loch Lomond Shores of Friday 2 August and Cairngorms Bike Festival on Sunday 4 August.

Earlier this year saw the first ever John Muir Day, which celebrated 175th anniversary of the birth of Scottish-born explorer and “father of National Parks”. As part of the Homecoming 2014 celebrations there will be further events surrounding his life and legacy, including the opening of the new 100-mile John Muir Coast to Coast Trail.

The Year of Natural Scotland 2013 provides visitors with the ideal opportunity to become immersed in all things Scottish, from the rugged scenery of the Highlands and the splendour of the national parks to the freshness of the natural larders and the warm welcome from people who passionately care about this wild land.

The Scottish National Parks Sector Review: 2012 available to view here