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A step-by-step guide to making the most of walking tourism in Scotland

Walking tourism

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More than ever, people are looking for authenticity and rejuvenation and are more focused on well-being and enhancing their quality of life


We have all heard how tourism is changing. Not just here but around the world. More than ever, people are looking for authenticity and rejuvenation and are more focused on well-being and enhancing their quality of life. Above all people want to spend time on things that matter to them and reawaken the spirit within.

What better place to do this than in Scotland, with its rugged beauty, remote landscapes and friendly hospitable people. How better to do this than by walking. By walking we don’t just mean the energetic hikes to conquer the next Munro, or Corbett, but all types of walking. From a gentle stroll by a loch, to a walk in the forest along some well marked paths.

It may also be a city walk in the many parklands or along a nearby beach. Indeed, it is also the challenge and sport of some of the best mountains and hills in the world and the most interesting long distance routes available anywhere.


Scotland is a walkers' paradise


Visitors who had cited walking as being part of their visit spent ??952 million in 2003

VisitScotland estimate almost one quarter of all revenue from the UK market (22 per cent) and approximately 4 million trips from the UK market, involved walking as the main part or activity of a trip.


Walking tourism of all sorts is set to grow

A study by the Ramblers Association shows that their membership grew from 38,000 people in 1980 to 140,000 in 2006. 77 per cent of the UK adult population say they walk at least once a month for pleasure, which is about 38 million people.


Walking tourism can address some other challenges within Scottish Tourism too

Attracting this market can help with seasonality, as July and August is not always the best time to go walking in Scotland. It is often busy, sometimes with midges and can be too warm.

Walkers have a much longer season than other tourists. Research indicates that people are very happy to go outside in all weather as long as they can get dry and warm at the end of the day. Walking can also encourage urban based visitors to take a day trip into the countryside ??? if they know where to go.

Walking, in all its forms, is fast becoming one of the most popular activities that people undertake while on a holiday in Scotland and this is set to grow. 

Scenario planners at VisitScotland tell us that by 2015 walking tourism is likely to contribute up to 22 per cent of the overall UK tourism revenue in Scotland.

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