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7 February 2019

Heritage sector generated over £4bn for Scotland’s economy in 2017-18

Annual Our Place in Time report showcases value of nation’s historic environment

view of Edinburgh from Edinburgh Castle

Scotland’s historic environment is continuing to make a strong contribution to the nation’s economy and we have announced (Thursday 7 February), that we've published the latest annual performance report for the historic environment sector.

Income generated by Scotland’s historic environment sector in 2017-18 has risen to over £4bn, with the growth attributed to increasing tourist numbers, particularly international visitors.

As well as economic value, the Our Place in Time (OPiT) Annual Performance report also outlines the social, cultural and environmental contribution of the historic environment to the nation’s wellbeing, through key performance indicators including boosting education and skills, supporting the voluntary sector and playing a lead role in reducing carbon emissions.

We lead and enables delivery of OPiT, reporting on progress to the Strategic Historic Environment Forum (SHEF) which is chaired by the Cabinet Secretary of Culture, Tourism and External Affairs. This is the fourth OPiT report published since the strategy was launched in 2014 and includes case studies from over 60 organisations working in the historic environment sector.

Key achievements which span the range of the OPiT themes – cross-cutting, understand, protect and value – include:

  • £4.2bn generated for Scotland’s economy in 2017-18
  • Between 2014 and 2018, grants of more than £56m assisted repairs of over £258m
  • 41% of the historic buildings on the Buildings at Risk Register have been saved between 2009 – 2018
  • The historic environment attracted 18m visitors in 2018
  • Over 17,000 volunteers have engaged with Scotland’s historic environment, providing 121,000 days

View of the Raw Sugar Warehouse conversion, James Watt Dock, Greenock.

Jane Ryder, Chair of HES, said:

"This report demonstrates the historic environment sector’s commitment to working collaboratively and in partnership to deliver OPiT’s vision. We’re currently four years into the ten year strategy and steady progress has been made towards achieving our strategic priorities. The case studies featured in the report demonstrate the breadth of activity and give us more of an understanding of the sector’s impact on communities and people.

There have been many achievements across the sector which have positively contributed to Scotland’s economy. As well as a rise in both the number and range of people visiting the historic environment, there has been a boost to the availability of skills through apprenticeships, fellowships and internships, plus additional FTE jobs created across the sector this year.

"Looking ahead, we hope to build on the success of the strategy so far. We will continue to work with partners in the sector to create a flourishing historic environment to ensure future generations can enjoy Scotland’s remarkable assets.”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, said:

“The delivery of Our Place in Time, Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, depends very much on collaboration and partnership working across the historic environment sector and beyond. Many organisations and individuals have contributed to the successes outlined in this report and I would like to thank them and acknowledge their huge contribution to helping to care for our precious and unique heritage.

We have achieved much since the strategy was launched in 2014. We will continue to build on this success in the years to come as we work together to ensure that Scotland’s historic environment continues to make a strong contribution to Scotland’s culture, economy and wider wellbeing.”
View the OPiT report

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

  • We are the lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. We will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
  • Historic Scotland, Scran, Canmore, The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP), The Engine Shed, Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle are sub-brands of HES.
  • View our press pack and keep up to date by registering for media release email alerts. If you wish to unsubscribe, please contact us.

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For further information, please contact:

Stacey Dent
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Direct line: 0131 668 8097
Mobile: 07557 489 322