By 2030 the Kingdom of Fife will be a world class visitor destination known for being a leader in sustainable tourism, and renowned for the warm welcome visitors receive. Fife will be a venue for major events, and a first-choice destination renowned for its variety of offering including stunning scenery, relaxing escapes, cultural attractions & experiences, outdoor activities, and excellent local food & drink.
This strategy aims to ensure that there is a quality tourism offering right across Fife. Through Welcome to Fife we will increase awareness of Fife as a first-class visitor destination, developing opportunities for visitors to experience the ‘real’ Fife, and to live like a local through authentic and unique experiences. We will ensure that the tourism sector is leading the way on working towards local and national sustainability ambitions, and that the sector benefits from increased digital capability and use of innovation in visitor information and experiences.
The aims and objectives of this strategy will be met by an increased market awareness and focus on target markets, greater collaboration across the sector, digital transformation, product development, and a drive to support businesses to recruit new people into the industry.
As the tourism sector continues to adapt to new challenges and change, the strategy will remain flexible, taking into account customer expectations, trends and national policies.
This tourism strategy supports the aims of national and regional strategies including:
Outlook 2030 – the national commitment to the future of Scottish tourism. An Industry Leadership Group was formed in 2022 to deliver the aims of Outlook 2030, under 4 key priorities – our passionate people, our thriving places, our diverse businesses and our memorable experiences.
Fife Economic Strategy 2023-30 – This strategy sets out the approach Fife Council will take to promote inclusive and sustainable economic recovery, growth and resilience in Fife.
This will be achieved through three priorities:
- Supporting Businesses
- Investing in Business Premises & Infrastructure
- Delivering Skills, Training & Fair Employment
Tourism is seen as being a priority sector for Fife, and the growth of tourism is integrated into these priorities.
Who are our Visitors?
The report, Fife Tourism: Identifying Growth Opportunities was published in April 2023. This report was commissioned by Fife Council to establish who Fife’s potential visitors are from across Scotland and the North of England and their characteristics, how consumers perceive Fife, how potential visitor attitudes are changing and what actions need to be taken to achieve growth ambitions.
- Raise awareness
- Capitalise on the area’s strengths in communication
- Focus on best prospect markets with targeted messaging
- Promotion of the area’s appeal need to be supported by information to address practical concerns
- A stronger positioning of St Andrews
- Make more of proximity to Edinburgh
From this research we have identified the following VisitScotland market segments as our target markets:
A love of holidays drive Engaged Sightseers to plan numerous breaks in a year. They enjoy general sightseeing and touring, taking in historical places as well as scenery and nature. They relish engaging with friendly locals and seeking out an authentic experience.
Natural Advocates are passionate about Scotland as it offers everything they want from a holiday; breathtaking scenery, a connection with nature and the chance to get away from it all. A holiday in Scotland will really help them to unwind, recharge and enjoy quiet time.
Food Loving Culturists will seek out a relaxing holiday experience where they can enjoy short breaks in the UK and will recommend quality experiences when their host has gone the ‘extra mile’.
In addition, we will have a particular focus on young families and retired people, as the visitor type most likely to want to visit Fife.
Since the pandemic, there has been a shift in what consumers want/expect from their holiday and destination. Some of the habits that were necessary when travelling was restricted have remained and look like they will be long term trends. Recent research has identified the following trends, which will inform Welcome to Fife campaigns, and the positioning of Fife as a visitor destination:
The aims of this strategy are to ensure that potential visitors are aware of Fife and everything it has to offer, that visitors have the best possible experience in Fife, encouraging longer and repeat visits, and to ensure that businesses have the support they need to grow and thrive in the current economic landscape. We will do this by working with businesses, partners and stakeholders to:
- Provide a warm welcome to all visitors.
- Ensure that visitors have a positive experience throughout their visit which exceeds expectations.
- Ensure that all businesses have the tools/knowledge/experience they need to provide visitors with a positive experience.
- Provide good value, authentic experiences for visitors, encouraging them to immerse themselves in Fife culture, and to ‘live like a local’.
- Focus on extending the visitor season with a particular focus on the shoulder months
- Ensure that sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do, contributing to Fife Council’s climate change ambitions, and ensuring that the Fife tourism industry is inclusive and accessible.
- Become a visitor destination known for its digital capability in terms of visitor information, experiences, and support for businesses to develop digital solutions to help them grow and thrive.
Creating a sense of place is vital in building a successful visitor destination. When making a choice of where to take a holiday or short break, potential visitors need to know what differentiates one destination over another. Through consistent messaging by all partners, Fife can increase its profile as a destination with plenty to do and see. Using ‘Kingdom of Fife’ messaging sets Fife apart from other areas, and creates a unique identity. Development of this sense of place will be achieved through:
- Destination development and infrastructure – ensuring that local communities have a clear and well established visitor proposition, a strong sense of identity, and the required level of facilities and infrastructure to create a first class experience for visitors.
- Product development and experiences – working with partners, businesses and stakeholders to build a strong and varied visitor offering, encouraging collaboration and innovation to create memorable experiences and products to suit both individual travellers and the travel trade market.
- Marketing / promotion / information – creating engaging, consistent campaigns directed at our target markets, building awareness of the Kingdom of Fife as a visitor destination, and ensuring that visitors have all the information they need to inspire them, both prior to arrival, and whilst they are here.
Events / venues – working with partners to develop and sustain an exciting programme of events throughout the year, with a focus on attracting participants from outwith Fife.
It has been well documented that the tourism and hospitality sector has struggled to attract and retain staff over the past few years, and that staff and skills shortages provide a significant barrier to growth. We want to position tourism as an attractive choice of career, ensure that people seeking employment have the skills required by employers, that employers have the opportunity to streamline processes in order to reduce the burden on employees and that our businesses have safe, nurturing environments for staff. This will be achieved through:
- Skills/career development – through the delivery of the tourism skills group action plan, positioning tourism as a career of choice.
- Fair work practices – encouraging businesses to incorporate fair working practices into their business.
WorldHost – Delivering a continuing programme of WorldHost customer service training to ensure that visitors receive the highest possible levels of service.
The success of the Fife tourism industry depends on having a base of resilient, ambitious and innovative businesses that can thrive in what can often be a difficult operating environment. Engaging with, and supporting our businesses is key to sector growth. We will do this by:
- Support – providing businesses with opportunities to learn, network and have access to insights to help them adapt to current market conditions. Encourage new entrants to the sector and work with partners to attract inward investment.
- Collaborative working – working with regional partners on joint initiatives to develop the East of Scotland visitor economy, and develop sector specific support opportunities in line with our target markets.
- Digital – ensuring that businesses have the digital capability required to streamline processes and meet customer expectations.
A much greater emphasis on sustainability and responsible tourism is the biggest shift in global tourism priorities since before the pandemic. Local Authorities, industry bodies and stakeholders have their own climate change targets to meet which in turn makes businesses think about their sustainability goals. This is not wholly environmental sustainability, but social and economic as well. Visitors have higher needs and expectations which must be met in order for a destination to remain competitive. We will ensure that Fife retains that competitive edge by:
- Environmental sustainability – delivering the Fife Sustainable Tourism Action Plan and promote responsible tourism practices.
- Transport – facilitating the use of active travel options for visitors in Fife, and make this option as easy to access as possible.
- Community Wealth Building – Working with communities and localities to develop their own tourism offering, and to develop community run facilities.
- Accessibility – Positioning Fife as an inclusive and accessible destination.
Welcome to Fife subscribes to STEAM (Scottish Tourism Economic Activity Monitor) and the Moffat Centre Visitor Attraction Monitor. From this, success can be measured by an increase in the following metrics:
- Visitor numbers
- Visitor nights
- Economic Impact
- FTE Employment
- Average length of stay
- Distribution of visitor numbers throughout the year
- Type of accommodation
- Events attendance
We are aiming for a target of a 2% annual increase in visitor numbers and economic impact. This increase will be across the year, with a specific push to bring more visitors to Fife in the traditional off peak season. We are aiming to increase the average length of stay from 2.2 days to 2.8 days over the duration of the strategy.
We will work closely with partners to achieve a steady increase in the number of people employed in the sector, encouraging new entrants to the workforce and upskilling within businesses.
In addition, VisitScotland carries out periodic visitor surveys to establish customer satisfaction which may include Fife specific data.
To measure the impact the strategy has on businesses, we report the following KPIs to SLAED:
- Businesses listed on Welcome to Fife
- Businesses supported
- Business attendance at events
In addition to this, we will continue to explore other data sources that will help to monitor progress e.g town footfall counters which can gather data on dwell time and granular catchment.
Welcome to Fife has an annual action plan which is monitored regularly to measure progress and outcomes. This is reported on quarterly to the Welcome to Fife Board and annually to Fife Council.