PAT ON THE BACK FOR 7STANES
According to this recent report the 7stanes project has been a great success.
TRAILBLAZING SUCCESS OF BIKING PROJECT
The 7stanes mountain bike project has helped to boost the economy in southern Scotland by increasing the annual visitor spend to over £9m in 2007, according to an independent survey published today (Sunday 24 February)
The research report - 7stanes Phase 2 Evaluation, commissioned by Forestry Commission Scotland - also reveals that visitor numbers to the trail centres area have more than doubled since 2004, rising to some 400,000 per year.
Some of the key findings also reveal that:
" The project has helped create 205 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs in southern Scotland;
" Overseas and UK visitors from outside Scotland has increased to 37 per cent - an increase of over 60% since 2004;
" The number of mountain bikers who bring their children with them has also increased to 15 per cent - from 10 per cent in 2004;
" The total number of visitors riding all the 7stanes puts it amongst the top 20 visitor attractions in Scotland;
" Almost all visitors were impressed with the 7stanes, with over 75 per cent of respondents saying that the quality of the trails was very good.
Environment Minister, Michael Russell, said:
"When the project was first set up in 2002 to help boost rural economies post foot and mouth, Forestry Commission Scotland and partners helped kick start mountain biking right across Scotland. Since then, we have become a world class mountain biking destination, holding titles such as 'Global Superstar' status and hosting the Mountain Bike World Cup for many years.
"Last year we also hosted the number one mountain biking event in the world, the Mountain Bike World Championships and I announced last year that Dumfries had beaten off stiff competition from Italy to host the World Mountain Bike Conference on Sustainability.
"The trails and facilities that the 7stanes have put in place have created an opportunity to raise Scotland's profile on an international level, but of much more importance, has attracted many thousands of visitors to the area, providing a much needed boost to the local economy.
"This report reinforces Scotland's reputation for great riding, but also demonstrates the significant successes that can be achieved by working in partnership."
The report also demonstrates that the 7stanes has had a positive effect for the whole of the country, with some 227 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs considered by the study to have been created since 2002 and that the project is now contributing around £4.14m to the country's GVA (Gross Value Added)
The report is part of the phase two of the 7stanes, which aims to widen the appeal of mountain biking while ensuring that the wider tourism business, health and social benefits secured for the south of Scotland.
Commenting on behalf of Forestry Commission Scotland's partners in the 7stanes, David Gass, Senior Director Operations, Scottish Enterprise Borders said:
"We are delighted that the evaluation has shown significant economic impacts across the South of Scotland and investment by the private sector. This project demonstrates the effectiveness of partnership working and provides a great platform for the South of Scotland moving forward in the adventure sports market."
For more information on the evaluation, visit www.7stanes.gov.uk/phase2evaluation