Hub sets the standard

Jedburgh Abbey
Jedburgh Abbey

The Heritage Hub in Hawick has been recognised for leading the way in capitalising on the growth of ancestral tourism in Scotland.

A new guide was launched this week by John Swinney MSP, which helps businesses take advantage of the sector.

VisitScotland believes ancestral tourism has the potential to grow significantly in the next five years, from the current 800,000 visitors per year to 4.3million visitors.

The hub features in the document as a case study.

A spokesperson for the Heritage Hub said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Hub’s contribution to Scotland’s ancestral tourism has been acknowledged by VisitScotland.

“A steady increase in the number of visitors whose holiday focuses on researching their ancestral heritage has allowed us to develop the services we offer to ancestral tourists, and establish long-term links with our visitors though our ScotlandsPeople centre, social media channels and excellent access to records.

“The Heritage Hub is part of the outstanding success that is Heart of Hawick, a regeneration project designed to make a substantial contribution to Hawick and the Borders’ social, cultural and economic environment.”

The guide provides tourism operators with the latest intelligence on Scotland’s ancestral tourism markets. There are also a raft of practical hints, tips and ideas to help businesses make the most of the year-round opportunities.

Genealogy is one of the fastest growing hobbies globally, dramatically increasing in popularity as access to the internet and ­online resources become more plentiful.

Linda McPherson, director of tourism at Scottish Enterprise said: “We know that these tourists often visit outside of peak periods, so this can offer a route for businesses to extend their season.

“There are also excellent opportunities to collaborate with other tourism businesses to develop a fuller package that can help extend visitor stay and spend within the local area and beyond.”

The guide, based on research commissioned by VisitScotland, shows that some 10million people worldwide with Scottish roots are interested in finding out more about their ancestry, with around two-fifths planning to visit Scotland in the next two years.

Based on these figures, the opportunity to capitalise on these visitors is estimated at £2.4billion. Research shows that ancestral tourists spend significantly more per day than the average tourist, and stay for longer.