Glasgow’s Tourism Strategy To 2016
Tourism is one of Glasgow’s biggest industries. In terms of
employment, it ranks alongside Financial Services, Health
Twenty-five years ago, this position would have been unthinkable.
Through continuous investment in both the tourism infrastructure
and marketing, Glasgow has risen to become one of the UK’s top
In 2005, the city attracted 2.8 million visitors who spent
COUNCILLOR STEVEN PURCELL
LEADER OF GLASGOW CITY COUNCIL
AND CHAIR OF GLASGOW CITY
Within Glasgow’s Ten Year Economic Development Strategy,
tourism is identified as a key industry that will help the city
achieve the step change that is necessary to fulfil its ambitions
for the future.
Step change involves a significant shift in thinking. It was
with this mindset that a partnership comprising Glasgow City
Council, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, Scottish Enterprise
Glasgow and VisitScotland Glasgow set out to produce Glasgow’s
Tourism Strategy to 2016.
The strategy takes account of trends affecting tourism and, in
particular, the need for cities to specialise and differentiate
themselves in order to compete in the global marketplace.
The Glasgow: Scotland with style brand is vital to the city’s
Discretionary business tourism, short breaks and large-scale
events are all seen as presenting the biggest opportunity for growth.
The strategy highlights the importance of Scotland’s new Arena,
the development of the Riverside Museum and the need for
3,000 new premier hotel rooms by 2016.
With an ambitious target of attracting an additional one million
visitors by 2016 – taking the sector into the £1 billion per annum
bracket – the strategy affirms the need for partnership working
on an unprecedented level.
Taking these principles further, there is an expectation that vital
transport links such as the Clyde Fastlink, Glasgow International
Airport rail link and Crossrail solution will be a priority for
transport providers and the Scottish Government alike.
Similarly, the support of the business community in Glasgow
is essential to the success of the strategy and this has been
developed by working with key stakeholders and members of
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce in its development.
This is the most thoroughly considered and widely researched
tourism strategy the city has ever produced, which is exactly
what is needed to create a Glasgow that is as much a place to
enjoy for its citizens as it is for visitors.
IMAGE AND BRAND
Information Communications Technology
Culture, Leisure and Visitor Attractions
Meetings, Conventions and Exhibitions
AND MEASURING PROGRESS
Alignment TO a STEP CHANGE
LOSSARY OF TERMS & LIST
In line with the city’s economic development strategy,
A Step Change for Glasgow, the key objective is to maximise
economic growth for the benefit of Glasgow’s citizens,
while at the same time creating a more attractive
environment for visitors and investors. The strategy
complements Glasgow City Council’s key objectives and
agenda for social renewal. It also embraces Scottish
Enterprise’s tourism priorities of innovation, product
development, business leadership development, and
destination development. The approach to delivery seeks
to reflect the relationship between the city and the wider
region, in particular the strengthening links with Edinburgh
via closer collaboration.
Our shared ambition for metropolitan Glasgow is of
sustained and sustainable growth in the tourism industry
as a contribution to the wealth and well-being of all.
Our vision for Glasgow 2016 is of a leading destination
in key markets offering a unique, dynamic and authentic
experience through the quality of place, product and
service differentiated through the strength of the brand,
Glasgow: Scotland with style.
Ten year priorities
To achieve the vision for tourism, four key priorities have
emerged from a process of research and consultation
with stakeholders and industry representatives.
Not only do they represent the main pillars around
which the strategy and subsequent action plans will be
developed, but they complement and support the broad
themes within Glasgow’s economic development strategy.
t o deliver a minimum growth of 60% in tourist
revenue with a target of achieving 80%
row tourism-related employment to 40,000
capacity by 3,000 premier hotel bedrooms
The four strategic themes are:
1. Image and Brand: a positive and unique image is a
Glasgow’s Tourism Strategy to 2016 takes advantage of
the favourable national policy environment, the city’s
recent economic growth and higher levels of ambition and
aspiration for Glasgow’s future prosperity and well-being.
2. People: Glasgow’s citizens are the city’s greatest
asset and must benefit from tourism’s growth.
3. Place: place attractiveness, accessibility and
quality of environment are competitive drivers for a
successful tourism destination.
The strategy is closely aligned to key national and city
4. Product: this must be fresh, distinctive, innovative
and appealing to target markets.
Scottish Tourism: The Next Decade – A Tourism Framework
For Change takes a similar long-term approach to tourism
development and sets ambitious targets. As Scotland’s
largest city, and a successful urban destination, Glasgow
has an important part to play in contributing to national
targets through its business and short break tourism
markets. The strategy reflects principal policy initiatives,
including the importance of cities in regional development.
These four themes will be underpinned by the
cross-cutting themes of sustainability, innovation,
collaboration and market research.
Glasgow will be recognised as a leading global tourism
destination with delivery driven through a city-wide
partnership of organisations, institutions and businesses
committed to this single vision.
Global tourism is projected to grow at
4% per annum, with Scotland
having set a national target of
revenue growth of 50% by 2015.
Demonstrating Glasgow’s ambition,
the city will deliver a minimum
growth in tourism value of 60%
by 2016, with the objective a
stretch target of 80%. This stretch
target represents a significant
step change in terms of performance.
Achieving 80% growth will mean that in 2016
Glasgow will welcome
four million tourists, equating to an additional one million
tourists compared to 2005, with tourism generating
revenues for the city in excess of £1 billion1.
Glasgow will meet aspirations by building on its current
status and delivering a quality tourist experience
It is projected that up to 9,000 additional tourism-related
jobs will be created as a result of this growth.
‘ must-see’ attractions
c lean, well-maintained and sustainable
public and civic spaces
These increases in volume, value and employment
will be achieved by focusing on a number of drivers
including place quality, connectivity, authenticity, product
innovation, strategic management and targeted marketing.
Other factors will include a continued strong demand
across primary market sectors responding to the brand
proposition. This demand will stimulate a growth in supply
of accommodation of a targeted 3,000 additional premier
hotel bedrooms by 2016, and a continued increase in yield
per consumer as Glasgow moves itself up the tourism
eamless transport connectivity
vents of international significance
rst class service from a well-trained workforce
Increased investment in the city region brand,
Glasgow: Scotland with style, is central to the task
of projecting Glasgow on the world stage as a creative
and highly desirable place to visit. Together with the
infrastructure developments in the pipeline and a more
strategic focus, Glasgow has the capability and drive to
deliver a true step change in tourism performance
A major events strategy, including Glasgow’s bid to
host the Commonwealth Games in 2014, a new
Riverside Museum (above right) and Arena at the
Scottish Exhibition + Conference Centre (below right)
are all key drivers to realising targets.
1 In real terms
Development of Glasgow’s Tourism Strategy to 2016 has
been led, in partnership with the private sector, by the
four main agencies in Glasgow with a remit for tourism
development (Glasgow City Council, Glasgow City
Marketing Bureau, Scottish Enterprise Glasgow
Glasgow’s Tourism Strategy to 2016 sets out the means
for realising this potential, articulating the city’s shared
ambitions and objectives for the industry during the
Ownership of the strategy lies with the Glasgow Tourism
Strategy Steering Group which will report back to
stakeholders and the Local Economic Forum on progress
against delivery, ensuring synergy with the implementation
of the city’s economic development strategy.
Glasgow’s tourism industry has played a leading role in
the city’s economic growth in recent years, thanks to the
successes of landmark events, such as European City of
Culture 1990, investment in new infrastructure, the growth
in the conference market and improved connections to
mainland Europe and international cities.
Participation in this group by Glasgow Chamber of
Commerce ensures a link to the private sector and will
reinforce the engagement of the industry in the delivery of
the strategy’s action plan.
The new tourism strategy builds upon the achievements
of the Glasgow Tourism Action Plan 2002-2007, recognising
that, although significant improvement has already taken
place since the early 1980s, the transformation is as yet
incomplete. Central to Glasgow’s reinvention, tourism
is one of the sectors offering the potential for achieving
continued growth and for achieving a step change in
overall economic performance.
3 MARKET CONTEXT
Volume and Value
Glasgow has grown and developed as a tourism
destination. With over 10,0002 hotel bedrooms, conference
facilities including the Scottish Exhibition + Conference
Centre, a wealth of visitor attractions and strong retail
offering, the city has adapted and developed quickly to
respond to market opportunities.
Tourism is the fastest-growing global economic sector in
terms of foreign exchange earnings and job creation.
Whilst specific world events have resulted in temporary
shifts in travel patterns, they have not resulted in less
travel – according to the United Nations World Tourism
Organization (UNWTO), world tourism is experiencing an
average growth of 4%.
Tourist numbers have increased consistently due to a
combination of powerful marketing and a quality urban
tourism product. The city has demonstrated its ability to
compete with the best on a world stage.
For many years, traditional sun and sea summer holidays
dominated international tourism but this pattern has
changed. Today destinations are competing vigorously to
offer a range of diverse experiences and activities to the
increasingly sophisticated traveller.
In 1995, 1.49 million trips were made by visitors to
Glasgow, generating £263 million in spend. In 2005 the city
attracted 2.8 million trips, with expenditure of £700 million.
Some 29,640 people were employed in tourism-related
activities in Glasgow in 2005, accounting for 7.6% of
all jobs in Glasgow and representing 16.2% of the total
tourism workforce in Scotland.
Some of the key emerging trends which the strategy must
The group’s remit is to:
In moving to a ten year timeline, in line with A Step Change
for Glasgow, the strategy will capitalise on progress to
date and raise the bar in terms of the scale of ambition
and scope of achievement. Within the new economic
strategy, there is a clear statement of intent to create a
step change in Glasgow’s performance and an expectation
that tourism, as one of the city’s recognised specialisms,
will play a prominent role in meeting this challenge to
generate prosperity and create an excellent economic
environment for all.
1. Lead development and implementation of the
Glasgow Tourism Strategy and Action Plan in
conjunction with relevant public and private sector
ifestyle and demographic change: an older
population with more disposable income and more
2. Report on progress against delivery to key
stakeholders and the Local Economic Forum.
ccessibility: ease of access to an increasing
number of destinations
3. Monitor and measure success using agreed
limate change: greater awareness of the impact of
travel and tourism development on the environment
The strategy will be complemented by a set of action plans
to be developed, reviewed and refined during the coming
decade. These will enable Glasgow to respond to changing
economic and environmental circumstances without losing
sight of the overall vision. Research will be undertaken to
benchmark the city and measure progress against targets.
Leisure is the primary reason for visiting Glasgow, with
53% of UK and 48% of overseas visitors coming to the city
for a leisure break. The biggest growth area, however,
in recent years has been discretionary business tourism.
According to International Congress & Convention
Association (ICCA) statistics for 2005, Glasgow is now
33rd in the world for numbers of international association
meetings held and 22nd for the number of international
I CT and its application: global access to web-based
information, helping consumers to research, select
and book holidays
ompetition: within short break and discretionary
England continues to generate the bulk of visitors, and
although the USA represents the single biggest country
of origin for overseas visitors, mainland Europe remains
the primary source of international tourism revenue.
The average length of stay in the city is three nights for
UK visitors and 6.2 nights for those from overseas.
ropensity to pay more for experience than goods
rowing demand for service-based skills
and quality of service.
Closer examination of the visitor profile shows that
Glasgow enjoys a broad market mix. Short break tourists,
for example, are drawn from a wide range of demographic
age groups. The most recent comprehensive visitor survey
found that 80% of the city’s current tourist base is in the
ABC1 socio-economic bracket, with high aspirational
values and expectations.
KEY STAKEHOLDERS AND THE GLASGOW LOCAL ECONOMIC FORUM
GLASGOW TOURISM STRATEGY STEERING GROUP
2 Glasgow Tourism Accommodation Review 2004/05
An analysis of Glasgow’s tourism industry helps to highlight priority areas for the strategy to target:
ow level of entrepreneurship
ntertainment and nightlife
ackaging of experiences
ity centre retail offer
ack of scheduled direct air services
aps in transport infrastructure
artnerships and joint working
esidual image issues
I mage of sector for employment
kills and labour shortages
ccess to Highlands/Edinburgh/golf
ack of 5 star hotel operators
E medical and scientific research
I nternational gateway
obust risk management process
ontinued brand development
ccommodation capacity issues
I ncrease in short break travel
ecline in numbers of people flying
ew hotel development
ecrease in popularity of city breaks
uality of visitor experience not equal to that
ollaboration with Edinburgh and other
I nability to match competitor investment
eveloping service excellence
ack of available labour
ttracting large scale events
I nnovative new products and packaging
I ncrease in competition in business
rowing competitor retail offers
ifferentiation through unique selling points
ailure to deliver key transport projects –
West Coast high speed rail link, airport link,
I CT applications
Glasgow has been particularly successful in the
discretionary business tourism market, hosting many
International Association meetings, notably in the medical
and scientific sectors. The city’s historic pre-eminence and
continued excellence as a centre for engineering, scientific
and medical achievement has been instrumental in bringing
this about. Glasgow’s distinctive contribution to this
specialist market sector needs to be vigorously supported
and developed, helping it to attract high value-added
conferences as well as influential, international organisations.
The city also offers a strong short break proposition.
This includes an excellent retail offering, the unique
architectural legacy of Charles Rennie Mackintosh,
world-class galleries, diverse visitor attractions and
celebrated nightlife complemented by a year-round
Glasgow’s performance, however, must be viewed against
a general growth in urban tourism. One of the city’s
greatest challenges comes from growing competition from
other city destinations. At a global level, the discretionary
business tourism market is experiencing unprecedented
growth in the supply of facilities. New conference centre
proposals and developments have meant that recent
market entrants such as Liverpool, Dublin, Dubai,
Hyderabad, Gdansk, Valencia, Vancouver, Barcelona
and Rome are vying for the same discretionary business
tourists as Glasgow. As competitors commit significant
resources to enhance their marketing capability, the battle
for share of voice in a crowded marketplace becomes
Glasgow recognises the demographic and social changes
taking place in the wider market and continues to develop
authentic and quality visitor experiences for key market
segments. As previous research3 has demonstrated, it will
be important for Glasgow to maintain a wide market base,
with tailored offerings which build on unique products
and areas of competitive strength. Collaboration with
Edinburgh on relevant tourism-related projects, such as
inter-city travel and major events, could enable the cities
to compete more effectively in the global arena.
The UNWTO has identified cultural tourism, short breaks,
international meetings and ecotourism as areas for future
growth. This is good news for Glasgow which is well
placed to take advantage of a strong cultural product, an
established track record in the international meetings
market and a developing reputation as a successful short
This competition is just as fierce in the leisure tourism
market, with cities such as Barcelona, Prague, Dublin
and Manchester all strong competitors. Glasgow will
benchmark itself against these and the other top league
cities who take part in the European Cities Tourism Report.
There is also growing internationa ...
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