Minister hails “valuable contribution” parks make to Scotland’s national and local economies

Welcoming tourism minister Richard Lochhead (third from left) to the conference were BH&HPA (Scotland) director Keith Campbell, BH&HPA Scottish policy director Sarah Allanson, and director general of BH&HPA Debbie Walker

DELEGATES from holiday parks across Scotland gathered in Edinburgh recently (30 Nov) for their annual national conference, and to prepare for welcoming even more visitors in 2024.

Held at Our Dynamic Earth, the event brought together senior figures from many of Scotland’s near 200 parks providing camping, caravan, luxury lodge and glamping holidays.

All are members of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (Scotland), and guests heard from a line-up of guest speakers including Scotland’s Tourism Minister Richard Lochhead.

Welcomed to the conference by association Directors Keith Campbell and John Kirkaldy, the Minister said that parks were doing much to minimise their environmental impact:

“Sustainability is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s tourism strategy, and I welcome the steps the holiday parks industry is taking to champion green getaways in order to help achieve our net zero ambitions.

“This year I have visited several parks to see how they work within their communities, and with other local businesses, to provide the best possible visitor experience.

“These businesses – and the visitors to campsites, caravan and holiday parks – make a valuable contribution to our national and local economies,” said Mr Lochhead.

Earlier in autumn, Mr Lochhead visited Findhorn Bay Holiday Park on the Moray Firth where electricity is generated by wind turbines, supported by the grid using a green energy tariff.

Mr Lochhead told delegates that he was delighted at the sustainability achievements being made by parks

The minister, who was a guest of BH&HPA, made his own contribution to a greener future by planting a commemorative tree to mark what the park described its “new series of eco-adventures”.

The conference also heard from other guest speakers on a range of different topics impacting on park businesses, many of which in Scotland are long-established family enterprises.

Subjects addressed included how parks can best formulate and implement a green energy strategy, and what holiday home manufacturers are doing to make their products more sustainable.

Tourism trends were also put under the microscope, along with an examination of how parks could continue to meet the ever-rising quality expectations of holiday park guests.

Running parallel to the conference at Our Dynamic Earth was an exhibition featuring suppliers of goods and services to Scottish holiday parks.

Keith Campbell, owner of Highland Holidays with three parks in Tyndrum, Oban and Ben Nevis, said that in 2023 holiday parks had remained as popular as ever with families and couples.

But he added that the industry was by no means complacent, and that parks continued to invest heavily is their businesses to ensure they provided world-class standards of hospitality.

An economic survey produced four years ago and currently being updated found that BH&HPA member-parks in Scotland are part of a sector generating £772 million of annual spending in mainly rural areas, and that the industry also helps sustain over 14,300 full-time jobs.