GCU researchers to drive heritage marketing towards 2017

27 April 2016

Tourism experts from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) will lead a new project to maximise the potential of Scotland’s heritage sector ahead of Scotland’s focus Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology in 2017.

With more than 8 million annual visits to Scottish heritage attractions such as Edinburgh Castle, Skara Brae, Blair Castle and Traquair House, marketing heritage and building the visitor experience is critical to support the sector.

Researchers from the GCU Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development will work on the Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the Scottish Tourism Alliance, the leading voice for the tourism sector in Scotland.

They will consider marketing, market intelligence and customer service skills as part of a three-year action plan to deliver Heritage Tourism 2020.

This strategy has been developed by the Heritage Tourism Group, comprising Historic Environment Scotland; National Trust for Scotland; Historic Houses Association; Scottish Ancestral Tourism Group; VisitScotland; Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Tourism Alliance.

GCU researchers will support the industry in working more collaboratively by establishing a national portfolio of heritage themed trails, looking at more innovative ways to use social media and encouraging a broader range of visitors to heritage sites.

Professor John Lennon, Director of the Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development, said: “The Scottish heritage sector is an iconic and vital part of our tourism offer with immense potential for the celebratory year in 2017. The Moffat Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University has a unique reputation in this area, having researched and carried out a range of development projects over the last two decades and we look forward to working closely with our heritage tourism partners.”

Marc Crothall, Chief Executive Officer of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said: “Heritage tourism in Scotland is currently worth more than £1.34bn to the economy with a potential to grow to over £1.7bn by 2020. The launch of the action plan marks an important milestone in the development of a more formalised framework and longer-term strategy. I am delighted that the STA will be central to delivering this new focus with the appointment of the new Heritage Tourism Co-ordinator who will be based at our offices in Stirling.”

Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism at Historic Environment Scotland and Chair of the Heritage Tourism Group, said: “The Heritage Tourism Action Plan marks an exciting milestone for the sector, and I’m extremely pleased to have led partners in the production of this collaborative plan for the industry, for 2017 and beyond.”

The Moffat Centre is the UK's largest university based consultancy and research centre for tourism and travel market research. It has supported tourism scholarships for GCU students in the Glasgow School for Business and Society to a value of £500,000 and has published the largest continuous analysis of visitor attraction performance since 1999.