Shooting tourism represents an important boost for rural areas in England, BASC has told a government inquiry.
BASC submitted detailed evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee inquiry into tourism’s role in supporting rural growth in England. The first oral evidence session of the inquiry is due to be held today.
The UK’s largest shooting organisation has drawn on national research and 11 case studies to evidence the social and economic benefit of shooting tourism for rural businesses and communities.
BASC is now calling on VisitEngland to raise the profile of England and its regions as sporting shooting destinations and would welcome the opportunity to work together on the matter.
Dr Conor O’Gorman, BASC’s policy development manager, said: “The case studies in our submission show evidence of the positive impact on rural growth of encouraging more visits by individuals and shooting parties to locations in England.
“Our evidence shows that investing in the marketing and development of shooting destinations should become the cornerstone of any future plans to boost the rural economy.”
Among the case studies in BASC’s submission is the Country Sports South West England project, managed by the association, which stimulated investment of £666,632 in the country sports sector from 2010 to 2013.
A further example is research by the Greater Exmoor Shoots Association which shows that shooting on Exmoor contributes an estimated £32.5 million annually to the UK economy and provides an economic return from upland farms and woods where farming margins are thin and alternative sources of income are hard to find.
Sarah Turner, a member of BASC Council and of the Greater Exmoor Shoots Association, said: “Shooting tourism represents an important boost for rural areas in England, which is especially important in the tourism ‘off season’ months. The impact of shooting-related tourism on rural growth is felt in every part of England and this is demonstrated by the 11 case studies in our submission.”
The Value of Shooting Report reveals that shooting supports the equivalent of 74,000 full-time jobs. People who shoot spend £2.5 billion each year on goods and services, bringing income into rural areas, particularly in the low-season for tourism. More than four million visitor-nights are generated by shooting every year while shooting directly supports the equivalent of 5,200 full-time jobs in the food and accommodation sector. The research shows that an established shoot generates local economic benefits for businesses in a radius of up to fifteen miles.