Tourism weathers the storm

GALLOWAY’s tourist industry has had a tough year, but not as bad as expected, according to accommodation providers.

They have revealed that 2012 has been as good as or better than the previous year, and deemed the year as “acceptable”.

The findings are published in the Tourism Business Con­fidence Monitor 2012 for Dum­fries and Galloway. The first survey of this type took place in November 2011, the purpose being to get an indication of how the “season” has been for the area’s tourism sector.

Dumfries and Galloway Coun­cil made direct contact with 89 accommodation providers, 
covering guest houses, self-catering, hotels and caravan parks. In the initial survey in 2011, the sector was optimistic in general about how 2012 would unfold. Unfortunately, particularly in the caravan and camping sector, this optimism was not realised. However, the general view from operators was that the season had been acceptable, given the economic situation and the poor weather.

Of the operators contacted, more than 80% said business performance was either better than or the same as last year. The caravan and camping sector had a poor year, largely attributed to the weather. One operator said: “We really need to have a good summer in 2013. This year has been a washout and we need to get back on an even keel.”

The hotel sector reported better trading in 2012 with 175 operators reporting that their business did better than 2011.

Operators also highlighted an online presence becoming more important because customers are increasingly using the internet and social media when researching where to go.

Councillor Ian Carruthers, chairman of the Planning Housing and Environment Committee, said: “We recognise that tourism is a key sector and we will continue to work closely with our key partners to support the sector.”