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Article published 02/06/2023

Trial scheme results

Tourism businesses across central Scotland have shared their experience of introducing "pay as you like" incentives in support of the cost-of-living crisis. They announced the results of a trial scheme last winter.

Visitor attractions in the Fife and Stirling regions were able to increase other income revenues, attract new visitors and strengthen ties with their local communities when they swapped fixed entrance fees for a "pay as you like" alternative. We heard from three businesses involved in the initiative.

Kingsbarns Distillery, St Andrews

Kingsbarns Distillery in St Andrews introduced a "pay what you like" offer for a tour of their 5-Star distillery on a Sunday morning between November 2022 and March 2023. A move that helped attract visitors, in particular locals, during the quieter winter months.

Andrea Morris, Visitor Engagement Manager said that they introduced the "pay what you like" initiative last year. Kingsbarns are staffed and open on a Sunday morning so there was no loss to business by offering the tour.

Andrea also said it makes sense to open their doors and enjoy the company of guests while they can and they would much rather do that.

Kingsbarns distillery

Kingsbarns Distillery pictured at night

Briarlands Farm, Stirling

Briarlands Farm in Stirling opened for the new season in February 2023 and trialled a month-long promotion inviting visitors to pay what they could afford that resulted in a huge rise in visitor numbers.  

Mary Inglis owner of Brialands Farm said that February is usually their quietest month and, if they compare visitor numbers from last year, they had almost a 300% increase in visitors.

She went on to say that many of these visitors were new customers who had not heard of the farm before and only found out about them through the promotion. 

They have had some really positive feedback from people who wouldn’t have been able to visit before and had people taking advantage of the offer and then signing up to season tickets and memberships. It has been great in this respect.

Children at Briarlands Farm

Children playing at Briarlands Farm

The Scottish Deer Centre, Fife

The Scottish Deer Centre in Fife introduced its "pay as you please" offer at the end of the school summer holidays in August 2022 and has kept it in place ever since. The offer allows visitors to pay what they can afford on entry to the 55-acre animal park.

Manager Sarah Rice said that they introduced the "pay as you please" offer in response to the cost-of-living crisis because they want every child in Scotland to have the chance to experience the centre.

At the time, they didn’t know how long they would keep it in place, but it has worked really well. They are attracting new visitors, but also locals as well.

The Scottish Deer Centre

A North American grey wolf and a European wolf at the Scottish Deer Centre

After an incredibly difficult period during the pandemic, we know that the rise in the cost-of-living and doing business has created new challenges for our tourism industry and for our visitors.

The resilience of tourism businesses during this time has been impressive and to see their ongoing creativity in finding new ways to appeal to visitors is great to see.

VisitScotland Destination Development Director Caroline Warburton

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