Forestry Commission Scotland
- Client Comments:
"Many thanks for the robust visitor survey for Loch Katrine. It helped me enormously in producing two audience targeted interpretation strategies for Loch Katrine and The Great Trossachs Forest – it provided real substance and most definitely filled a dark hole in our knowledge of visitors in the area, great job!"
- Rob Robinson Heritage Consulting
"Deidre's input compiling a visitor survey and completing the project within a very short timescale was invaluable. It helped us compile a Interpretation Strategy for existing and potential visitors to the Loch Katrine afforestation project. Deidre's analysis of the information she collected helped us identify important projects and tourism opportunities which we had not envisaged". "Great work, thanks!".
- David Robertson, Visitor Services Manager - Forestry Commission Scotland
Loch Katrine is at the core of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and the focus of a large native woodland regeneration project, The Great Trossachs Forest.
The Loch Katrine area is visually stunning, coloured by the open expanses of water, steep wooded slopes and craggy mountain tops. However, its value is much greater than its visual beauty. Its associations with Rob Roy, Sir Walter Scott, the Romantic Movement and Victorian tourism, its resourcefulness as a source of timber and drinking water, its evidence of past inhabitants and land management, its iconic and rare native wildlife and patchwork of native woodland all contribute to a make this a special and unique place. The future management of the Loch Katrine catchment aims to dramatically enhance the environment on a landscape scale and provide improved and innovative access and interpretation and deliver economic, social and community benefits.
A Visitor Survey and Research Strategy for Loch Katrine was undertaken by Deidre Luzmore from Luzmore Consulting and an Interpretation Strategy was produced by Rob Robinson Heritage Consulting. Deidre worked closely with Rob Robinson and the Forestry Commission Scotland on this project as the visitor research results were crucial to the development of the visitor profile and the target audiences.
Visitor surveys are important for nature conservation areas because:
- establishing visitor profiles can help focus marketing campaigns to relevant audiences.
- knowing the characteristics of your audience can focus decision making on the best marketing methods to use to target visitors before they arrive and what interpretation to provide when they arrive in a way that is relevant and enjoyable. Leisure and tourism is all inclusive and everyone needs to feel that they are connecting.
Information on visitors to forest parks is essential for planning and managing recreation and tourism in order to provide for good experiences, and also for the promotion of public health and well-being, as well as for protecting nature and cultural heritage in an efficient way.
A visitor survey is one means of carrying out so-called participatory planning. Through the survey, visitors can convey their wishes and viewpoints on the planning process and thus have an impact on the development of the area and the action plans ultimately identified for implementation. The visitor survey does not replace other methods of participatory planning, but it is one possible way of achieving participation in addition to other available methods. A visitor survey generally reaches a significantly broader and more representative group of the area’s users than can be reached, for instance, through public programs or focus groups.
The main objectives of the survey were as follows;
• To identify the profile of visitors and the nature of their visits in order to guide the interpretation strategy and implement action plans that meet visitor expectations
• Visitor data will promote sustainable development of recreation areas. Knowing the number of visitors, the geographical distribution of visitors, as well as the type of visitors, is invaluable information for promoting sustainable tourism. Reliable data on visitor characteristics can help to confirm the impacts of tourism on the triple bottom line that is to say the economic, social and environmental impacts of visitors the local area and local communities.
Interpretation of national park and nature reserve can play an important role in the marketing strategy particularly if the local area is steeped in history and culture. Interpretation is much more than providing visitors with information about the area they are visiting: it is about provoking a reaction in the visitor. Interpretation should aim to make a connection with the visitor in some way that is relevant to their own lives. Interpretation
helps to create a ‘sense of place’ or ‘sense of identity’ so that it is clear to the visitor why this site is important in the bigger picture and why it worth protecting and maintaining for future generations. If you can get the ‘sense of identity’ right, it can form part of a powerful marketing image.