Walking tourism boosts Scots economy by £1.3bn

Four million trips included walking as an activity. Picture: Robert Perry
Four million trips included walking as an activity. Picture: Robert Perry
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Walking tourism generates up to £1.26 billion for the Scottish economy, new figures show.

Research by VisitScotland found that in 2015, four million trips by visitors from the UK included walking as an activity.

The popularity of longer walks of more than two miles soared on the previous year, rising 18 per cent to over two million trips.

Walking visitors to Scotland were most likely to be female, with the largest age groups of walkers those between 55-64 and 45-54.

The research found the majority of walkers were likely to work in managerial, administrative and professional occupations, with only 6 per cent holding semi-skilled or unskilled manual jobs.

Strathclyde Country Park in Motherwell emerged as the most popular outdoor attraction, welcoming more than 5.4 million visitors, while Rouken Glen Park in Giffnock increased visitor numbers by 21.5 per cent.

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Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, said: “From the West Highland Way and the Cairngorms, to country parks and city strolls, Scotland is famous for its stunning scenery and there is no better way to enjoy it than on foot.

“Scotland is an extremely accessible destination. The Walkers Welcome scheme and the Right to Access policy make it incredibly easy for outdoor enthusiasts to travel around the country.

“The growing interest in health and wellbeing presents a fantastic opportunity for Scotland to promote itself, not only through its inspiring landscapes but also through the health benefits of walking and being outdoors.”

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The tourism body has created a special video to celebrate the country’s walking opportunities, including 26 long distance walking routes that stretch over 1,700 miles and 282 Munros - mountains over 3,000ft.

A Unique Perspective - Walking in Scotland was shot in the Cairngorms around Aviemore and includes views of the Green Lochan, Ruthven Barracks, the Highland Folk Museum, Loch Morlich and Loch an Eilein.