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Minister endorses partnership working for heritage sector

16 September 2008

The Historic Properties Group, a partnership of Historic Scotland, Historic Houses Association and the National Trust for Scotland, has commissioned research into how the future of heritage tourism might look.

The study ‘Trends for Growth in the Historic Properties Sector’ focuses on what the heritage industry needs to do to perform better as an industry.
Findings suggest that Scotland’s historic environment is likely to face bigger challenges in the future.

The report recommends a number of ways that the Historic Properties Group can work together to create competitive advantage and business opportunity. The HPG has already adopted a number of actions:

  • Attracting visitors to historic properties by working in partnership to develop new products for visitors such as the Homecoming Pass. This ticket will, for the first time, allow visitors access to all attractions run by Historic Scotland, National Trust for Scotland and Historic Houses Association, making it easier for tourists to enjoy the country’s rich heritage.

  • Attracting overseas tourists by marketing to the travel trade via joint ventures such as the new dedicated heritage area at VisitScotland’s EXPO trade show.

  • Enhancing the quality of service to visitors through joint initiatives such as the new Heritage Mystery Visit Scheme. This will give properties access to independent audits – giving valuable feedback on the quality of the experience.

  • Pooling resources to share data on visitor trends; and to share experience to train and develop staff who work in the heritage sector.

Linda Fabiani MSP, Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture, said:

“Scotland’s high-quality heritage attraction sector has so much to offer the tourist.

“There is clear evidence that visitors are becoming more sophisticated in their tourism tastes and increasingly looking for the unique and individual experiences that Scotland can give.

“This report highlights what opportunities the historic properties industry can take over the next 7 years to make their voice stronger in both the UK and overseas tourist trades.”

Peter Bromley, Director of Properties in Care for Historic Scotland, added:

“The role of heritage in Scotland is very important to the culture and identity of Scotland as a nation. 90% of international visitors to Scotland said that they had visited a castle, historic house or palace during their visit; 61% of UK visitors said the same.  However, heritage sites don’t just boost our tourism numbers but they also provide great social benefits and learning opportunities.

“However, through collaborative working with other agencies, both public and private sector, we can continue to grow and be world class.”

Sarah Troughton, Chair of the Historic Houses Association for Scotland, said:

"The publication of this research document and the HPG seminar today marks an important milestone in our understanding of why the heritage sector matters to Scotland and why we should value it.  

“The HHA, representing the private and independent ownership sector, is delighted to be able to work alongside its partners in the HPG to help bring about the wide ranging recommendations the report makes."

Henk Berits, Director of Commercial Services and Marketing for the National Trust for Scotland said:

“We welcome the report and look forward to continuing to develop our partnerships with others in the sector. The properties owned by the Trust and our partner organisations are clearly of importance for now and for future generations. By working together we can ensure their success for years to come. “



  • This Historic Properties Group was established in 2006. Historic Scotland, The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and the Historic Houses Association are all part of the group who look at developing the heritage attraction sector in Scotland. The group commissioned the study to enable it to focus on how the heritage property sector will change over the next five to ten years.

  • The report ‘Future Trends for Growth in the Historic Properties Sector was produced by Rob Robinson Heritage Consulting.

  • There are around 235 identified heritage attractions in Scotland which form approximately one third of all visitor attractions in the country and around 60% of all paid entry attractions in Scotland.

  • Historic Scotland operate 29% of identified properties, while NTS operate 21% and 50% are operated by trusts, local authorities and private bodies.

For further information

Laura Varney
PR Executive
Marketing and Media
0131 668 8959