Shetland Wool Week ‘boosts economy by £500,000’

A consultant’s report suggests that Shetland Wool Week pumped more than £500,000 into the economy – a 70 per cent increase on last year.

Highland Business Research has been looking into the festival, which ran for nine days this year, and its associated economic input.

A map illustrating where some of the wool week participants travelled from in 2016. Photo: Liam Henderson
A map illustrating where some of the Shetland Wool Week participants travelled from in 2016. Photo: Liam Henderson

It estimates that travelling fanatics brought with them £460,000 of spending power along with approximately £70,000 spent by locals, resulting in a total of almost £526,000 of economic activity.

The figures are based on money spent on wool week classes and tours, food and drink, accommodation, transport within Shetland and gifts.

One of the wool week organisers is Misa Hay. She said the findings of the report were “extremely” pleasing.

People are prepared to travel long distances and invest considerably once they are here. MISA HAY

“We have seen a growing interest and enthusiasm for Shetland Wool Week and it is evident that people are prepared to travel long distances and invest considerably once they are here.

“We have been focusing on building up the wool week brand and profile through various marketing activities and in terms of interest for Shetland’s textile industry, the figures speak for themselves. We have over 10,000 followers on Instagram, 12,000 Facebook fans and 22,000 subscribers to the newsletter alone.

“Attending key events such as the Vogue Knitting Live in New York and Edinburgh Yarn Festival have had a beneficial impact, with 40 per cent of attendees coming from outside the UK, many from long haul destinations.”

She said the challenge for the organisers was to continue to improve the “customer experience”.

“It is clear from the feedback that participants rate the organisation of the event as well as the skills and expertise of the tutors, and it is this, together with the location and personal touches that makes for a very special event. We want to continue at this very high level and further develop a really full and diverse programme which appeals to people of all abilities, whether they’re interested in knitting, wool, textile heritage, spinning, weaving or tweed.”

Next year’s festival will take place between 23rd September and 1st October. Submissions for tutors and event providers is 31st January, contact


Add Your Comment
  • Martin Curtis

    • December 9th, 2016 10:20

    To think that Shetland Wool Week started from an idea sparked by HRH The Prince of Wales 7 or so years ago it has come such a long way – literally!
    I think everyone has done a great job in developing what is in my opinion the most wonderful catalyst for the creation of new wool festivals, groups of like minded dedicated wool enthusiasts, small craft businesses, designers and more.
    There is a world of creativity out there and opening our minds to what can be done if there is a will, a need and some passion!
    I should also say that it has been done with self financing from companies such as Jamiesons and Smith, Real Shetland Company, Shetland Amenities Trust, Shetland Museum and Archives, promote Shetland and many more companies and individuals. With continued support this event will go from strength to strength.
    Fantastic achievement by all involved.
    Martin Curtis


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 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.