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Scotland has a wealth of amazing built heritage. Let's turn that into a wealth of profitable tourism for years to come

Scotlands historic properties: visiting the future

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Heritage is at the heart of what Scotland offers visitors and it is vital that we are aware of future trends as well as current ones

Historical Properties

The environment in which we all operate is becoming more and more challenging, partly because tourism is an increasingly competitive industry for Scotland. Never before has it been so easy for visitors to find out information or choose from a multitude of destinations. Accordingly, visitor expectations are continuingly increasing all the time.

Heritage is at the heart of what Scotland offers visitors and it is vital that we are aware of future trends as well as current ones. This guide draws together rmany of the key themes of a recent report: Future Trends in The Historic Properties Sector – March 2008. 

This was commissioned by the Historic Properties Group and supported by Scottish Enterprise to analyse future trends for the heritage sector. We hope it is of interest and, importantly, of use in helping us all to ensure that historic properties can meet and exceed visitors’ expectations in the future.


The Historic Properties Group care for over 500 heritage sites across Scotland – how can you get involved?

Historical Properties

According to the research (FT HPS – Mar 2008 the heritage sector reports that the most important sources of income in ranking order are tickets, retail, events and then catering

Many historic houses are also opting for weddings, film shoots and the corporate market for additional income. Some other sites have used feedback from visitors to innovate.

Historical Properties

There are 235 staffed historic attractions in Scotland which represent a third of all of our visitor attractions

Since 1999, we have seen heritage attractions attract one million more visitors. However the attractions market overall has grown and historic properties only account for 20 per cent of all visits made to visitor attractions - we are clearly not maintaining or growing our share of the market.

Historical Properties

The heritage sector is a vital part of Scottish tourism and the experiences that we offer are often the reason that visitors come here

In 2003 VisitScotland carried out extensive brand research on how people perceived Scotland. Three words; Enduring, Dramatic, and Human, emerged from the research to describe what people expected from a visit to Scotland.

In the 2007 Visitor Experience Study by VisitScotland, a staggering 90 per cent of international visitors and 61 per cent of UK visitors said that they had visited a castle, historic house or palace during their visit to Scotland. It is precisely what the heritage sector can offer our visitors in Scotland that makes the Scottish tourism brand so uniquely different from our competitors.

With such a huge advantage at our fingertips, we now need to make sure that we can offer visitors an experience that far exceeds their expectations so that they both keep returning and recommending us to their family and friends.

By working together, looking at what others are doing and listening more closely to what visitors want, we can improve and develop what we offer. Then we can better face the future with confidence and help Scotland become a world class destination.

Want a printed version of the guide?

Please email or call us on 0845 601 2454.

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