|The Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe bring tourists to Scotland from all over the world to the premier global arts festival. However, shooting sports sustain more jobs in Scotland.|
Gamekeepers believe shooting jobs have never been more valuable to Scotland than today, with more posts sustained by the activity than Edinburgh’s festivals.
At the same time as global tourists throng the capital’s streets for the biggest arts carnival in the world, sportsmen and women will be in Scotland’s hills for the start of the grouse season on Friday.
And although prospects for grouse are mixed in some regions, the season starts a wider country sports programme which supports 8800 full-time jobs per year in remote areas. *
Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman Alex Hogg believes, with uncertainty slowing Scotland’s economy, that this rich seam of employment has never been more important.
He says the SGA, which represents 5300 gamekeepers, stalkers, river and land ghillies, wildlife managers and rangers will be looking to work constructively with politicians to grow the vital rural industry.
“Compared to many other European countries, Scotland does not have an embedded ‘hunting’ culture and chunks of the population don’t know the impact the shooting seasons have to the country, economically.
“The 2014 ‘Value of Shooting’ Report by PACEC * showed 8800 full-time jobs relying on shooting. That is over 2000 more posts than is created by the Edinburgh International Festival, the Fringe, Tattoo and Hogmanay combined (6021)*, according to the latest figures from Festivals Edinburgh. These festivals are a major attraction for Scotland and rightly so.
“Shooting jobs dwarf the growing music tourism market*, creates as many jobs as our number one food export, the farmed salmon sector*, and it will bring in more money- at £155 million a year*- than The Open Championship did at St Andrews in 2015*.
“There are real concerns for employment in rural Scotland at the moment, particularly in oil and gas, so gamekeepers and their families want to see the industry grow. We want to work with Scottish Government to make sure hard working people can continue to rely on these posts in future.”
Despite the economic impact of shooting in Scotland, the industry can attract criticism from anti bloodsports organisations.
The SGA Chairman says all industries must learn to cope with criticism, as long as it is substantiated.
“Shooting, by its nature, will never be popular in everyone’s eyes and the divisions in the countryside now can be negative.
“As an organisation, we seek to make progress and look forward. The industry has made significant strides in terms of best practice and regulation, today, is much tighter.
“There are opportunities that remain to be developed that can increase Scotland’s reputation, particularly in terms of premium game products like venison and we want to work towards that.
“Forestry and timber processing on the entire National Forest Estate in Scotland amount to less jobs than is supported by shooting (7225)*so this shows the scale of the employment in Scotland. It is important the skilled workforce is retained and new opportunities for the future are explored with decision makers.”
Sources: (1) and (2): PACEC report 2014: The Value of Shooting. Page 26. http://www.shootingfacts.co.uk/pdf/The-Value-of-Shooting-2014.pdf
(3) Edinburgh Festivals Impact Study: July 2016 by BOP Consulting
(4) UK Music report 2015 http://www.ukmusic.org/assets/general/WYWH_2015Report.pdf page 26.
(5) Scottish Salmon Producers Association 2015: http://scottishsalmon.co.uk/rural-economies-boosted-by-salmon-farming-industry/
(6) BBC Scotland 2016 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-36989425
(7) Scottish Government: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/The-Open-brings-140-million-benefit-to-Scotland-2168.aspx
(8) Dec 2015: The Economic Contribution of Forestry and other Activities on Scotland’s National Forest Estate, CJC Consulting. http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/images/corporate/pdf/national-forest-estate-economic-contribution.pdf
More Economic Facts:
Grouse shooting alone is worth £30m in wages to Scotland’s economy.
Impact of Deer Management on Scottish Economy is £140.8 million.
Impact of Game Angling to Scotland’s Economy is £113 million
In 2015/2016 Scotland’s five ski resorts generated £21 million.
Mountain Biking is worth £49.5 million to Scotland’s economy.