Hoteliers in Scotland are reporting a downturn in business due to the widespread cancellations of shoot programmes.
Around 70 per cent of grouse shooting days have been cancelled this season because of extreme weather conditions earlier this year. Country sports tourism generates £155m annually for the Scottish economy with approximately 970,000 bed-nights purchased per year.
Philip MacKenzie, owner of Farr Estate in the Monadhliath hills, was one of those having to cancel grouse shooting, with a knock-on effect on the local economy: “At Farr we would hope to have 15 driven days per season and four or five walked-up days. This year we have cancelled all grouse shooting.
“Our 15 driven days would have produced an income of £150,000 which we re-invest in the estate. In addition, we would have offered 350 man-days of employment during the season. We can’t now take on any of those people, so they will lose that pay.”
Research by SRUC in 2014 found that 9,400 man-days of work were created by the grouse season in the Angus Glens and Monadhliath alone. Separately, the Lammermuirs Moorland Group reports that on average, five grouse estates in the region create 550 man-days of employment in a normal season.
Andrew Grainger, co-ordinator for the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group, commented: “These employment patterns are replicated across Scotland. When casual employment falls, the spend in local businesses falls as everyone has to tighten their belts. The tourism sector is also severely impacted by a poor season. We know that almost one million bed-nights are generated by tourists in a good season but hoteliers in rural areas are hard hit when the season falls flat.”