St Andrews is top of Fife holiday hotspots

CITIZEN PHOTO'St Andrews West Sands was very busy last Thursday afternoon (July 2). Pictured around 3pm Photo by Ian Joy Photographic
CITIZEN PHOTO'St Andrews West Sands was very busy last Thursday afternoon (July 2). Pictured around 3pm Photo by Ian Joy Photographic
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Fife - and in particular St Andrews - has proved a hit with holidaymakers according to VisitScotland’s most comprehensive and in-depth research survey ever.

The results, which were conducted for the national tourism organisation by TNS-RI, showed that 91 per cent of visitors enjoyed their trip to the region and 94 per cent would recommend it to others - with 49 per cent saying they would return in the next five years.

The study was conducted in various parts of Scotland between July and October of 2011 with 1882 overnight leisure visitors being targeted, including 564 visitors to Fife. Each was asked about their entire visitor experience including activities, eating out, accommodation, planning and connections to Scotland.

Richard Pinn, VisitScotland regional director for Fife, said: “Fife has always been popular with visitors, both from Scotland and further afield and it’s fantastic that they would highly recommend it to others.

From the stunning coastline, to picturesque villages, to championship golf links and highly-rated restaurants, the region has something to offer everyone.”

Focusing on accommodation in Fife and St Andrews, 64 per cent of respondents felt there was good availability of low cost choices in the area and 82 per cent said they had received both friendly and efficient service.

It also looked into a breakdown of types of accommodation with one-in-five having stayed in a hotel, 15 per cent in a bed and breakfast or guesthouse and the highest proportion staying with friends or family.

Also, the experience didn’t end when people left the region - the survey revealing that over half of all visitors to Fife and St Andrews (52 per cent) shared their experiences online once they returned home, with 40 per cent uploading photos to sites such as Flickr and 24 per cent updating their Facebook status, as well as leaving reviews on sites such as Tripadvisor.

According to the survey, the profile of visitors to Fife and St Andrews is similar to that of Scotland, with a broad range of age groups - 31 per cent aged under 35, 40 per cent between 35 and 54 and 29 per cent aged 55 and over - while a total of 45 per cent of visitors to the Kingdom spend one or more nights in the area, with the average at 4.9 nights.

Top reasons for choosing to visit Fife and St Andrews include the scenery and landscape with the most popular activities being trying local food and shopping, visiting a beach and general sightseeing.

Most visitors ate out in pubs, bars or cafes - between 56 and 61 per cent - while 36 per cent dined in local hotels, according to the study.