News and media


Workshops to capitalise on potential £2.4 billion from Scottish ancestral tourism

06 November 2013

Scottish tourism businesses, community groups and social enterprises are being encouraged to tap into ancestral tourism opportunities.

A series of Ancestral Tourism workshops are being held across Scotland throughout November in the run up to 2014, when Scotland welcomes the world for Homecoming, the Ryder Cup and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Across the Highlands and Islands, workshops are to be held in Inverness, Kilmartin, Stornoway, Elgin and Shetland. Businesses, social enterprises and community groups interested in making the most of what could be year-round opportunities are being encouraged to attend.

Ancestral tourism in Scotland has the potential to grow significantly in the next five years, from the current 800,000 visitors per year to 4.3 million visitors.

According to research by VisitScotland, some 10 million people with Scottish roots are interested in finding out more about their ancestry, with around two-fifths planning to visit Scotland in the next two years. Based on these figures, the opportunity to capitalise on these visitors is estimated at £2.4 billion in additional revenue.

Research shows that ancestral tourists spend significantly more per day than the average tourist to Scotland, they stay longer than other visitors (average of 10 nights compared to 4.5 nights for all visits to Scotland), visit throughout the year and often visit places that traditionally have little tourist trade outside of the usual tourist centres.  Ancestral tourists from all countries are highly likely to make return visits to Scotland (92%) and to recommend Scotland as a destination to family and friends (97%).

Audrey Maclennan, Senior Tourism Manager at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, commented: “These workshops will look at the opportunities that ancestral tourism can offer our businesses and groups while also identifying national and local resources to enhance the experience of visitors.

“There are an increasing number of people looking to trace their roots and visit the land of their forefathers. This is a growing opportunity not just for businesses but community groups and social enterprises which may have specific local expertise. As well as gaining practical hints and tips, attendees will have assistance in producing an action plan to target opportunities and be provided with the comprehensive Tourism Intelligence Scotland Ancestral Guide.”

The guide is also available to businesses by registering at

Workshop dates and locations

  • 12 November – Glasgow
  • 14 November – Inverness
  • 14 November – Perth
  • 15 November – Aberdeen
  • 19 November – Kilmartin
  • 19 November – Stornoway
  • 26 November – Elgin
  • 27 November – Helmsdale
  • 27 November – Shetland

Dates and venue may be subject to change. For further workshop information and venues, please visit

Tourism Intelligence Scotland is a joint venture developed by Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, VisitScotland and the Scottish Tourism Alliance, in partnership with the tourism industry, to stimulate growth and innovation in tourism.

Leave a comment

m sinclair 12/11/2013

only by a late email from HIE did we learn of this workshop. No wonder the numbers for Helmsdale are/were so low - but, per head-of-population, even a small attendance will be higher than some venues futher south. I have now registered to attend.

Back to top