A runaway success for the Highlands and Moray

A press release from VisitScotland

Tourism in the Highlands and Moray is set to benefit as the area gets set to host a major world level orienteering event, Highland 2015, with support from VisitScotland.

Highland 2015 comprises both the 2015 World Orienteering Championships (WOC), from 31 July – 8 August, and the 20th Scottish 6 Days orienteering event, both of which are expected to bring an influx of visitors into the North of Scotland and an economic benefit to the local area of over £2.5m.

The 6 Days event runs every two years at different locations in Scotland and has this year been developed to be an integral part of the WOC. The majority of the 5,000 entrants for the 6 Days will then go on to spectate at the elite WOC competition.

Last edited: 31st Jul  

Both the WOC2015 and Scottish 6 Days will be centred on Inverness, with events being held at various locations around the Highlands and Moray. These events will focus attention on the Highlands and Moray, with TV coverage being carried live to around two million people.

An economic impact assessment carried out by Glasgow-based EKOS Limited following the Scottish 6 Days event in 2013, showed that 97% of the visitors were from outwith Moray and Nairnshire and 80% from outwith Scotland and that 95% of visitors stayed overnight.

The assessment showed average daily expenditure for day visitors at the 2013 event ranged from £8 to £22 and for overnight visitors ranging between £47 and £74 and the length of stay varied from 5-8 nights in Moray and Nairnshire and 7.1-9.8 nights in Scotland.

This influx of visitors into the Highlands and Moray leads to the generation of valuable income to the local visitor economy, with accommodation providers, transport operators, food and drink suppliers, visitor attractions, restaurants, shops and more all benefiting.

This year, there are 5,384 entries, as opposed to just under 4,000 - including entry on the day - in 2013. It is estimated another 500 people will also enter on the day. There are an additional 500 runners/officials for the World Championships. This year the overall event period is nine days, as opposed to seven days in 2013.

Scotland is seen as an ideal location for orienteering competitions, due to its unique landscape and geology, with heather-clad hills, bogs, sand dunes and forest tracks all creating a diverse ‘playground’ for competitors.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said:

“Yet again, Scotland is competing on the global stage by hosting world-class events such as these, which attract people from all over the world - as competitors and spectators - to our beautiful country.

“Such events give an enormous boost to the local visitor economy. This causes a ripple effect which touches every industry, business and community in the country – from laundry services to life sciences. A strong visitor economy helps to position Scotland on the world stage, with every tourism experience having the potential to become a business transaction.

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it creates jobs, sustains communities and provides a shop window for business activity.”

Convenor of The Highland Council, Councillor Isobel McCallum, said: 

“The Highland Council is delighted to support the World Championships and the Scottish 6 Days event. An independent study of the 2009 Scottish 6 Days event in Perthshire found that 3,900 participants and 416 spectators attended the event over the week, generating additional expenditure in the local area of £1,997,400, and £2,490,573 in Scotland as a whole.

“With a record number of over 5,000 participants now registered for the 2015 event in Inverness, the economic benefit to the local area is expected to be over £2.5million. As well as providing an economic boost, the orienteering events are raising public awareness and encouraging more participants and more new entrants to the sport.

“Everyone has been working very hard to ensure that Highland is ready to welcome people from across the globe to what will be a very memorable experience. Praise should go to the many organisations and volunteers who have given their time and support to bring world orienteering to the Highlands and I wish all the participants every success.”

In Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, a number of Scottish producers will attend the Food and Drink Fair, part of the Highland O-Fest, at Darnaway, near Brodie, on Tuesday, 4 August, including Alba Chocolate, Ashers Bakery, crazy4cocoa, Devenick Dairy, IcIcles on Tricycles, Moray Firth Partnership Seafood See Here, Rose Cottage Country Kitchen and Smoothie Bikes.

Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink 2015 celebrates the role that food and drink plays in shaping our economic success in a year of brilliant food moments which will showcase Scotland’s outstanding natural larder.

Local and Scottish caterers are also supplying food for the orienteering day events, including Tomintoul Venison and Stovie Castle, and two local ice cream sellers, Black Isle Dairy and Phil Ma’Cones, as well as two Scottish coffee vendors. Tomich Residents Association will provide tray bakes at Glen Affric.

For more information about these events, please visit www.woc2015.org