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.
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.”