Thursday, 27 December 2018 14:55



Scottish snow sports have boosted the economy by almost £31 million, according to latest estimates. 

Additionally, negative projections made in 2011 on likely Scottish skiing and snowboard trends have failed to materialise – with additional investment in Scotland’s five ski centres considered a key factor in maintaining visitor numbers. 

These new figures apply latest figures of ‘skier days’ for the 2017/18 season to existing methodology to give an economic benefit of £30,892,375 to Scotland’s economy. It is estimated that for every £1 spent on the Scottish slopes, a further £4 is spent in the surrounding area at Glenshee, Glencoe, Cairngorm, Nevis Range and the Lecht. 

There were over a quarter of a million skier days recorded in 2017/18. While this is less than the peak of 631,000 skier days recorded in 1991 it is markedly up on the ten-year average to 2010 (of less than 200,000) which was seen as a likely future for Scottish snow sports. 

Had the number of skiers and boarders visiting Scotland’s slopes continued at less than 200,000 each season it would have meant £6 million less to Scotland’s economy last year. 

The Scottish Government, through Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Enterprise has provided over £5.5 million in support to Scottish ski centres in the past three years to upgrade infrastructure and provide an improved visitor experience.

Commenting, Kate Forbes MSP said: 

“Scotland’s great outdoors is a huge draw for visitors and sporting enthusiasts, especially over the winter months. 

“Our five ski centres offer varied and exciting terrain and there’s been fantastic investment in better facilities over recent years – thanks in large part to the efforts of the Scottish Government and its agencies. 

“Just a few years ago, there was a bit of a doom and gloom outlook for Scottish skiing. But, through a determined effort, we’ve managed to reverse that trend and boost the numbers enjoying the slopes. 

“And the economic impact of that has been significant – with a £31 million boost to our economy from snow sports last year, which is about £6 million more than was projected. 

“While Cairngorm Mountain in my constituency is facing challenges, everyone is working to keep it open for business – it’s so important for the Highland economy to see snow sports continue there for many more winters to come. 

“Alongside many other skiers and boarders, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for great conditions at Scotland’s ski centres this winter – a superb family day out, giving a huge boost to the rural economy.” 

Skier Day* Figures: 

2017-18: 247,139 
2016-17: 54,156** 
2015-16: 207,770 
2014-15: 230,634 
2013-14: 235,303 
2012-13: 290,996 

*A skier day means one person who skis/boards on one day - many are repeat (‘serial’) visitors who are counted each day they enjoy their snowsports. This data is based on actual ticket sales. 

** The figure of 54,156 represents what is informally known as a ‘blip’ season

Most recent 5-year average (discounting 2016/17 season) shows 242,368 skier days.

Figures provided by SPICe, obtained from VisitScotland

2011 Scottish Snowsports Strategic Review identified 10-year average of 199,100 skier days – and expectation for that trend to continue unless “measures put in to attract and older population and drive entry into the sport” 

VisitScotland figures estimate that snow sports are worth around £30 million each year to Scotland’s economy, supporting over 600 jobs. For every £1 spent on the hills an additional £4 is spent in the surrounding areas – giving a substantial economic boost to Scotland’s rural communities. 

Methodology: estimate of economic impact per season = (Average spend on day pass x skier days x (£1+4)) 

For 2017/18 season = £25 x 247,139 x £5 = £30,892,375

On 2011 projections = £25 x 199,100 x £5 = £24,887,500

Difference = £6,004.875 

Read 394 times Last modified on Wednesday, 26 December 2018 15:00

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