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Walking generates up to £1.26 billion for the economy

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VisitScotland have released new research on walking tourism

Tourists are enjoying getting out into Scotland for a walk – resulting in a huge boost for the economy.

New figures from VisitScotland have shown that the walking market generates up to £1.26 billion to the Scottish economy.

The research found that in 2015, four million trips by visitors from the UK included walking as an activity.

Walking was most popular with those aged 55-64 but millennials made up over a quarter (26%) of visitors participating in long walks.

The country is also known for its many country parks which are a popular draw for families and dog owners. In 2015, as measured by the Visitor Attraction Monitor, Strathclyde Country Park in Motherwell emerged as the most popular outdoor attraction welcoming more than 5.4 million visitors, while Rouken Glen Park in Giffnock increased visitor numbers between 2014-2015 by more than a fifth.

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, said: “The growing interest in health and wellbeing presents a fantastic opportunity for Scotland to promote itself, not only through its inspiring landscapes but also through the health benefits of walking and being outdoors.

“VisitScotland continues to work with communities to showcase the rich assets, hidden gems and local stories in every region in Scotland.”

The report has been welcomed by Ramblers Scotland. Director Brendan Paddy said: “We believe that our amazing landscapes and world-class access rights combine to make Scotland one of the best countries on earth to visit for walking.

“It’s vital that we work together as a nation to capitalise on this – by protecting the environment, promoting access and continuing to invest in improved paths, campsites and mapping.

“We wholeheartedly welcome VisitScotland’s increased focus on profiling the country as a walking destination, and we look forward to continuing to work with them to encourage even more people to get out in Scotland on foot.”