Media Release: Workshops to capitalise on potential £2.4 billion from Scottish ancestral tourism

SCOTTISH tourism businesses, community groups and social enterprises are being encouraged to tap into ancestral tourism opportunities.

A series of Ancestral Tourism workshops are being held across Scotland throughout November in the run up to 2014, when Scotland welcomes the world for Homecoming, the Ryder Cup and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Across the Highlands and Islands, workshops are to be held in Inverness, Kilmartin, Stornoway, Elgin and Shetland. Businesses, social enterprises and community groups interested in making the most of what could be year-round opportunities are being encouraged to attend.

Says a spokesperson: “Ancestral tourism in Scotland has the potential to grow significantly in the next five years, from the current 800,000 visitors per year to 4.3 million visitors.

“According to research by VisitScotland, some ten million people with Scottish roots are interested in finding out more about their ancestry, with around two-fifths planning to visit Scotland in the next two years. Based on these figures, the opportunity to capitalise on these visitors is estimated at £2.4 billion in additional revenue.

“Research shows that ancestral tourists spend significantly more per day than the average tourist to Scotland, they stay longer than other visitors (average of ten nights compared to 4.5 nights for all visits to Scotland), visit throughout the year and often visit places that traditionally have little tourist trade outside of the usual tourist centres.

“Ancestral tourists from all countries are highly likely to make return visits to Scotland (92 per cent) and to recommend Scotland as a destination to family and friends (97 per cent).”

Audrey Maclennan, senior tourism manager at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, commented: “These workshops will look at the opportunities that ancestral tourism can offer our businesses and groups while also identifying national and local resources to enhance the experience of visitors.

“There are an increasing number of people looking to trace their roots and visit the land of their forefathers. This is a growing opportunity not just for businesses but community groups and social enterprises which may have specific local expertise.

“As well as gaining practical hints and tips, attendees will have assistance in producing an action plan to target opportunities and be provided with the comprehensive Tourism Intelligence Scotland Ancestral Guide.”

The guide is also available to businesses by registering at

For further workshop information and venues, please visit


Note to editors:

Tourism Intelligence Scotland is a joint venture developed by Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, VisitScotland and the Scottish Tourism Alliance, in partnership with the tourism industry, to stimulate growth and innovation in tourism.

Workshop dates and locations

12 November – Glasgow
14 November – Inverness
14 November – Perth
15 November – Aberdeen
19 November – Kilmartin
19 November – Stornoway
26 November – Elgin
27 November – Shetland

Dates and venue may be subject to change. For further workshop information and venues, please visit

About Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is an economic and community development agency delivering the Scottish Government’s economic strategy across a region which covers more than half of Scotland.

With around 250 staff, HIE supports hundreds of client businesses and social enterprises; strengthens communities, particularly in fragile areas; develops key sectors, and invests in infrastructure to create a more competitive and low carbon region.

Our priority sectors for growth include Energy, Life Sciences, Food and Drink, Creative Industries, Tourism, Financial and Business Services and Universities.

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Contact: HIE Communications
Phone: 01463244238