Landowners urged to consider tourism opportunities

Nature based tourism is worth �1.4billion, picture courtesy of Go Ape
Nature based tourism is worth �1.4billion, picture courtesy of Go Ape

rural landowners are invited to attend a special open event at Lochter Activity Centre in Inverurie on Thursday (September 20) featuring speakers with many years of experience diversifying traditional rural business into tourism.

Speaker Ben Mardall, who has been Chairman of Wild Scotland, the Scottish Wildlife & Nature Tourism Operators, since 2007, says Scotland’s Great Outdoors is a key element that makes Scotland a popular with tourists.

“The outdoor activity market including wildlife watching is considerable and businesses like ours take advantage of this to provide a first class experience for our visitors.

Nature based tourism is worth some £1.4 billion to the Scottish economy and thought to support nearly 40,000 jobs. Also in the recently published Scottish tourism strategy ‘nature, heritage and activities’ were identified key areas where Scotland can provide authentic experiences.”

Pat Somerville, of event organisers Scottish Land & Estates, explained more: “The event will encourage people to think outside the box when it comes to the earning potential of land. Pursuits such as walking, trail running, mountain biking and horse riding plus a host of other outdoor and recreational activities can provide an extra source of income for owners of farms, rural businesses and estates people may never have thought they had the skills for. Our speakers have been carefully selected to provide sound information from their wealth of experience in the field.”

Event sponsors Johnston Carmichael, will also be on hand to explain the legal and tax considerations for those looking to get into the rural tourism trade.

Tax Partner Colin McKelvie said: “Farmers and landowners are often eligible for tax reliefs specifically designed for their specific circumstances, such as averaging of profits, relief for the farmhouse, lowers rates of Capital Gains Tax and relief from Inheritance Tax. Once a farmer or estate owner starts to diversify, the tax position may change and valuable tax reliefs may be lost. Diversification can create valuable additional income.”

Other speakers on the day amongst others include Paul Masson, a designer and project manager of cycle trails from ‘a safe path to school’ to ‘a full blown mountain bike trail’.and Andrew Donaldson of Comrie, a leader in his model of rural regeneration.

All are welcome to attend with registration and further details available through Scottish Land & Estates by calling 0131 653 5400.