Blair Castle Horse Trials brings a £4m boon to the local economy

It might be regarded as a bit of a jodhpur yomp for the sartorially well-endowed, but the annual Blair Castle Horse Trials officially gives plenty back to the community after new research revealed the equestrian event contributes more than £4m to the local economy. Last year saw a crowd of 63,405 hack their way to the famous Highland estate, in Perthshire, and according to an economic impact report put together by the Sports Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, the spend generated by their stay hugely benefited the area.

After crunching numbers gleaned from interviews with spectators, reseachers found that 89% of visitors stayed locally for at least one night, with almost 25,000 bed nights contributing £1.08m to the total; the Scotland-wide total spend on items other than accommodation was an additional £1.99 million; on top of that 39% of spectators stated that attending the Trials was their primary reason for coming to Scotland and the event also received 268 hours of television broadcast worldwide, reaching 34.4million viewers.

“It is very important to us to gain economic feedback on the event both from those competing and those coming along to spectate,” said Nicky Townshend, Assistant Director of the Blair Castle Horse Trials.

“We want to see Scottish and Highland Perthshire businesses benefit as much as possible again this year by marketing their services to take advantage of the event’s visitors; we can help them get involved with sponsorship or advertising. The Horse Trials are not just for multi-million pound companies – there are packages from just £200, offering branding opportunities, data capture, hospitality or trade stand space,” she said.

The Atholl Estates venue also employs 85 staff in tourism, hydro, farming, forestry, housing and field sports; all were recognised for the vital role played by its workforce in setting up and clearing the event with minimal impact on the environment. “The event is extremely good news for the local economy and for Scotland generally, with £4.13 million worth of expenditure generated across Scotland last year by attendees, participants and Atholl Estates as organisers of the 2015 FEI European Eventing Championship.”

The study saw a cross section of attendees at last year’s event questioned face-to-face by the research team on a range of issues such as their accommodation and spending choices, length of stay and opinions on the shopping village and Country Fair. As well as spectators, the research gathered the opinions of national team riders, grooms, event staff, volunteers, media personnel, traders and contractors.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “The FEI European Eventing Championships were a tremendous occasion for Scotland and had an incredibly positive impact on both local and national economies, encouraging an influx of visitors to Perthshire.

“The event also generated terrific exposure for one of the country’s most scenic areas through worldwide media coverage, which has created the potential for further inbound tourism, representing a significant legacy impact. We hope many of those who have been inspired by these images of Scotland take the decision to return for this year’s Blair Castle Equi-Trek International Horse Trials.”

What: Blair Castle Equi-Trek International Horse Trials
When: 25-28 August 2016
Where: Blair Castle, Perthshire