Tourism and Events

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Increasing the flow of tourism to Scotland's canals

The Kelpies - Glasgow Caledonian University

The project: Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and Scottish Canals are working on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to develop and implement a strategy for increasing tourism on the canals. Funding of £96,700 has been awarded for the new 18-month Knowledge Transfer Partnership between GCU and Scottish Canals.

The challenge: Last year, the Scottish Government unveiled its new policy for Scottish Canals and the organisation published its ten-year vision of ‘Safeguarding our heritage. Building our future'.

Richard Millar, Director of Heritage, Enterprise and Sustainability at Scottish Canals, said: “Scotland’s canals were once the thoroughfares that stoked the fires of the industrial revolution. While today the waterways are home to cyclists and social enterprises rather than coal scows and Clydesdales, they are increasingly vital venues for business, leisure and tourism that attract more than 22 million visits a year.

“Drawing on the knowledge and expertise of the university, I have no doubt we can continue the on-going renaissance of the canals and develop new visitor, business and community opportunities along their banks.”

The purpose: GCU and Scottish Canals will develop and implement a strategy for increasing tourism on the canals throughout Scotland following recent work to transform the local environment of Falkirk through the award-winning Helix project.

The new project will be overseen by Professor John Lennon, Assistant Vice-Principal Development and Director of the Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development, who has expertise in consultancy and contract research projects in the travel, tourism, hospitality and events sectors.

The people and partners: Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is a UK-wide programme, part-funded by the Technology Strategy Board with 12 other funding organisations, with a contribution from the company partner Scottish Canals. A KTP Associate will work in Scottish Canals overseen by the academic partner GCU. Professor Lennon has previously undertaken commercial projects for Scottish Canals in tourism business forecasting and worked on the successful Helix Park development.

The outcomes: GCU is to support ambitious plans to bring visitors to Scotland’s canals through the development of new community, visitor attraction and business opportunities in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Falkirk and Inverness.

The impact: This summer marked the opening of a towpath along the Forth & Clyde Canal extension and the completion of a £1.3 million project to upgrade paths throughout Scotland’s canal network. The Kelpies, 30-metre high horse-head sculptures, stand next to the new canal extension in The Helix, a parkland project built to connect 16 communities in the Falkirk Council Area.

Scottish Canals and GCU aim to develop a strategy to encourage even more people to engage with the rich heritage and many attractions they offer.

This case study was published in December 2014.



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