Danger to tourism (Allen Fraser)

VisitScotland has commissioned a visitor survey of attitudes to windfarms in Scotland. The tangible evidence from this survey of attitudes to windfarms actually underlines the dangers to Shetland’s tourism industry.

Visitors rarely come to Shetland for a single reason; mostly they come to experience all that Shetland has to offer as a package – an example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

To put the VisitScotland survey in context we need to look first at the Shetland Visitor Survey for Shetland Islands Council from 2006. This shows clearly that: 91 per cent of all visitors to Shetland visit Central Mainland and 61 per cent visit North Mainland; 10 per cent of tourists come to Shetland for scenery and landscape; 10 per cent come for peace, quiet and remoteness; 17 per cent come for birds/wildlife/nature/flora. In fact this survey shows 91 per cent of all visitors, and in particular 37 per cent of tourists, visit Shetland for a positive environmental experience. In Scotland visitors that find wind turbines objectionable can easily move a relatively short distance to another area.

The VisitScotland survey, which is pretty superficial anyway, is seriously flawed by not factoring in the visitor demographic. For example the survey didn’t look at the visitor demographic to ascertain what percentage were wildlife or outdoor tourists – a factor that would have a crucial bearing on analysis of the survey answers. However the survey did state that: ‘18.7% of UK consumers were in agreement as well as nearly 20% of Scotland respondents that the countryside was spoilt by these structures’. Also ‘18% of UK respondents and 17% of Scotland respondents agreed that they would tend to avoid any parts of the countryside with wind farms’ .When you look at this in the context of the Shetland survey it is a fair bet that these respondents were wildlife or outdoor tourists.

One result from the survey that is extremely worrying for Shetland is the analysis of visitor response to statement: 1.4.3: It would be an added attraction if wind farms were located in popular tourist areas. Analysis: ‘It appears that respondents would in general prefer not to see wind farms in popular tourist areas with 43% of respondents disagreeing with this statement’. Furthermore the survey states: ‘41% of UK and Scotland respondents disagreed that seeing a wind farm would add to their enjoyment of the UK/Scotland countryside’.

Shetland is in fact marketed by both VisitScotland and Promote Shetland as a separate and distinct tourist destination. Potentially Viking Energy could lose us 43% of our tourist trade.

As well as destroying our landscape the proposed Viking Energy industrial belt across the heart of Central Mainland could have a devastating effect on our tourism Industry. No longer would we be able to market ourselves as a unique and beautiful landscape to compare with any on the planet; no longer would National Geographic sing our praises.

Allen Fraser

(Shetland Geotours).


Add Your Comment
  • Geordie Pottinger

    • April 27th, 2012 2:21

    As you well know, there are “lies, damn lies and statistics” which can be twisted whichever way you want to in order for them to say exactly what you want them to say – just as you have done. They prove nothing!

  • Graham Henderson

    • April 27th, 2012 10:36

    Dear Editor,
    The very vocal Mr. Fraser of Shetland Geotours, with his obvious vested interest in ‘preserving’ Shetland in locally-produced, eco-friendly aspic as a tourist theme park, has forgotten that there are 22,000 people who actually try to live and work there and who require an injection of capital into the local economy if they are to diversify their commercial prospects and retain the young people who currently, as soon as they have finished being educated beyond all requirements, head south.
    Small business start-ups are not getting much in the way of help from the criminally insane banking fraternity still at loose in the community.
    I was once shortlisted to become the ‘development officer’ for a small island off the west coast of Scotland but declined this kind invitation because the ruling triumvirate of foreign incomers in this island were intent on anything but ‘development’: they too wanted to ‘preserve the natural beauty of the place’ – at the expense of the less vocal native inhabitants, retained for their scenic qualities.
    The poor fellow from the Scottish Office who accepted professional suicide on behalf of the bewildered islanders lasted a year before resigning from shear frustration.
    A century or so ago Shetland was home to about 32,000 folk living on 32 islands; nowadays we are barely 22,000, living on about 15. In other words, 17 islands are now enjoying ‘natural beauty status’, appreciated by seals, scories, birdie-folk and other occasional visitors.
    33 jobs are created every day in the EU due to windfarm technology. Our many governments in Lerwick, Edinburgh, London and Brussels are committed to radically reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and Shetland has a crucial part to play in making this a possibility, since, if we have anything in abundance, it is our bloody awful constant weather.
    If the £930 million are realized by Viking Energy, then some of this capital is a potential fund for sustainable, environmentally non-destructive development: Shetland folk are not short on ideas, just start-up cash.
    How many jobs both full and part-time would not exist without the relatively recent introduction of fish-farming? How long can the fishermen hold out against increasing restrictions, decreasing quotas, the madness of discards and ‘unfair’ competition from unfettered neighbours? HMRC discovered the cunning blackfish tunnel I call ‘Tom’; how long before ‘Dick’ and ‘Harry’ are reactivated or discovered?
    Mr. Fraser wants a Shetland populated by tour buses and hotel staff and a few antiquated eccentrics who have hung about because they are too doitin to go elsewhere and don’t mind having their photo taken while they carry out their quaint rural crafts and amuse the tourists with deyr funny wye o spikkin tae fokk.
    A windfarm is the modern equivalent of the windmill, a useful device perfected in the Low Countries and now just part of the scenery, most of which would not be there if they were not there; Holland would have sunk.
    Don Quixote Fraser can tilt at windmills on behalf of Shetland Geotours all he wants, windfarms are INEVITABLE & ESSENTIAL in the modern world and the key to a continuing, vibrant and prosperous Shetland. People like Fraser should be put on the first ferry south and dumped in the nicely empty Scottish highlands and islands where the occasional second-home in once thriving glens are the only inconveniences blotting his beloved desolate landscapes.

    A reluctant economic exile, oorlang ootadaeks,

    Graham Henderson.
    Brussels, Belgium.

  • Allen Fraser

    • April 27th, 2012 11:57

    Tilting at windmills? Perhaps – but the lance is VistScotland’s not mine.

    Tourism already employs more people and brings in more revenue to Shetland than Viking Energy ever can. I’m proud to say my business contributes to our rapidly growing tourism industry by bringing people to Shetland and promoting all that is good about the islands.

    Seems to me that the population of a remote Scottish Island had a very lucky escape.

  • roberta clubb

    • April 27th, 2012 12:10

    Mr Henderson,
    you hiv maybe no idea what a caring and informed man Mr Allen Fraser is.; an asset to his home territory.

    You may be ” ootadaeks” as you choose to describe yourself as being a reluctant exile. Therefore maybe you have not grasped the scale of this proposal. This particular industrial turbine farm is no “windylights windmill “patch and I can assure you it is certainly not ” ootadaeks.”!

    Viking Energy recently chose to described on their website one of several areas which could be living literally in the shadow of the turbines as ” the patch at Nesting” . It did not go unnoticed !

    Whatever your opinions on V.E. I think the least you can do is write an apology to Mr Fraser for your outrageous onslaught suggesting he should head off in the manner you suggested.

  • Sandy McMillan

    • April 27th, 2012 16:51

    The Majority of true breed Shetlanders support Mr Fraser, wether or not tourism is his bread and butter, I support Mr Fraser and think the world of the guy, for all the hard work he is doing to save Shetland from total destruction, like it or not if Viking Energy, and Scottish and Southern energy, get there way, that will be the end of Shetland as we know it,

    Sandy McMillan

  • Derick Tulloch

    • April 28th, 2012 11:51

    Sandy – I am curious as to what a ‘true bred Shetlander might be? Does der veins run wi Fair Isle patterned bluid? My understaunding is dat we ir aa Kenyans. Aabody is an incomer!

    Tourism is fine and does provide work. But – how sustainable is tourism to Sheltand it in the long term in a post peak oil word of rapidly rising energy and hence transport costs? I would suggest not very

  • Mike McEwan

    • April 28th, 2012 16:20

    Mr McMillan,
    The ” majority” really you know this how? What is a ” true breed ” Shetlander anyway? How long go you need to go back, 50 years or a 100? I assume those of us who are not ” true breed” have less say in the matter.

    Yours Mike McEwan
    Proud Soothmoother

  • Darren Johnson

    • April 29th, 2012 11:51

    Not only is it deeply insulting to suggest someone is any less a Shetlander for not sharing the same point view as yourself its completely unproductive and inflammatory.

    The same tactic is used by the SNP in relation to the Independence campaign and it only serves to push folks to the opposition.

    As for a “majority”. When you have a community so deeply divided I would say it was pretty even and could go either way. I suppose it depends on which side of the fence you sit on.

  • Robina Barton

    • April 29th, 2012 18:46

    I would entirely support Roberta Clubb’s suggestion that an apology would be in order for such unpleasant comments. Shetland would be a much poorer place without ‘people like Fraser’ who care greatly about the islands and put a great deal of effort into helping others to appreciate and enjoy them.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.