Visits tally 22.7million as tourists flock to Fife

A stretch of the Fife Coastal Path
A stretch of the Fife Coastal Path
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Fife’s countryside and coastal areas are the most visited in Scotland, contributing millions of pounds to the local economy, reports Gail Milne.

Fife is the top destination for outdoor tourism, for the third year in a row, receiving 13 per cent of all Scotland’s visitors to rural areas – an estimated 22.7 million visits a year (2004-2009), according to Scottish National Heritage (SNH).

As the Kingdom is home to seven per cent of Scotland’s population, this means it received nearly twice as many visitors as there are Fifers.

SNH’s most recently published Scottish Recreation Survey: Annual summary report also illustrates that 90 per cent of Fifers visit the area’s countryside and coast, with over half making visits to the outdoors at least once a week.

These figures on the popularity of Fife’s outdoors also indicate the significant economic impact that tourism brings to the area’s countryside, coasts and other rural areas.

The Fife Coastal Path attracts thousands of walkers every year.

Fife Coast and Countryside Trust is the region’s leading environmental charity responsible for managing and conserving Fife’s countryside and biodiversity. Founded in 2001, the Trust manages 70 sites across Fife, including the Fife Coastal Path and Lomond Hills, on behalf of the Council.

Amanda McFarlane, chief executive of Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, said: “The outdoor tourism figures for Fife are extraordinary. With so many local and visiting outdoor enthusiasts, the Trust will continue to work with partners to conserve, enhance and promote the region’s fantastic outdoor destinations, such as the Fife Coastal Path and Lomond Hills.

“We are delighted to see that everyone from hillwalkers to birdwatchers, cyclists to picnicker, locals and visitors have once again made Fife the number one tourism destination.”

Councillor Brian Goodall, chair of Fife Council’s housing and communities committee said: “I’m not surprised that Fife’s outdoors is proving to be popular as it has so much to offer visitor and Fifers alike.

“We are very lucky to have so many beautiful places to visit and such a diverse mix of different coast and countryside locations. There really is something for everyone of any age to enjoy and I hope we continue to see such positive figures in years to come as more and more people discover what the Kingdom has to offer.”

Grant Ward, head of leisure and cultural services added: “I’m delighted that once again Fife is the top destination for outdoor tourism and would like to pay tribute to the hard work of the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust and partners involved which has no doubt contributed to this success.“