The end of March brings to a close Scottish Tourism Month. This is the first year that a whole month has been dedicated to events, activities, talks and more to celebrate and promote the tourism industry in Scotland. Developing from a single week to a full month, this is further proof of the growth of the sector and its importance to Scotland.
Dundee and its surrounding areas are right at the heart of this change. With the opening of the V&A, the increase of events hosted here (i.e. The Open, The World Karate Championship, etc.) the changing strength of the pound, the influx of cruise ships, the value of heritage and history, engaging marketing campaigns, the use of Scotland as a film and TV location (Outlander, Avengers Infinity War, etc.) and more all mean that more people are coming to the area to participate, to attend, to explore, to discover, to relax and to enjoy themselves.
Tourism can no longer be thought of as a single season, a staged deployment of traditions or a simple, intermittent job. Tourism is a booming business that generates £382 million for the local economy and employs 26,200 (15% of all employment) in Dundee and Angus alone. Tourism is something Scotland needs, an industry we should take pride in and an opportunity to showcase and develop our passion, creativity and entrepreneurship. Tourism is no longer just kilts and whisky, modern tourism is adventure trips up the Monroe’s, ghost stories, food road trips, design trails, genealogy searches and more. Tourism is whatever you can create and whatever the customer is looking for.
Tourism can offer young people careers for life, that can take them all over the world, especially if they have more than one language. As the number of tourists coming to Scotland (from both home and abroad) and their expectations and areas of interest increases, so too do the number of jobs and opportunities. There will always be people needed to man hotel receptions and guide tours, but the tourism industry offers so many other opportunities and careers for those who have the drive and passion to be successful. Tourism also includes managers, Michelin star chefs, accountants, social media marketing gurus, IT specialists, stone masons, innovators, curators, artists, instructors, mechanics, sales staff and more. As people’s expectations change so do the job opportunities.
By 2027 there are estimated to be around 10,900 more tourism jobs that will need filled in Tayside. Diverse, engaging jobs that offer progression opportunities and where no two days are likely to be the same. There are also opportunities for people to create their own roles and companies. Dark Dundee is just one of the many incredible local examples of businesses who have tapped into the tourism market and are flourishing. In Dundee and Angus there are, at time of writing, 665 sustainable tourism businesses. With the growing number of tourists visiting the area, there is room for many more.
Working in the tourism industry requires the same necessary soft skills as every other industry; team work, communication, resilience, etc. The specific skills needed for each role can be gained through on-the-job experience or different levels of education. Tourism is a thriving industry that offers incredible opportunities for those who work within it.