In recent years the Falkirk area has firmly made its mark on the international tourism map with the arrival of The Falkirk Wheel – the world's only rotating boat lift and the iconic, award winning Kelpies – the world's largest equine sculptures.
There has also been significant investment by the private sector in the expansion and upgrade of existing accommodation stock and the development of new hotels, venues and additional attractions.
There has been a concerted effort by Falkirk Council's through collaborative marketing campaigns with tourism partners to raise the profile of the Falkirk area for tourism and economic development opportunities.
Much progress has been made to improve the perception of Falkirk as a tourism destination including the development of the Visit Falkirk brand which has been utilised in a national marketing campaign.
The tourism product in the Falkirk area includes two of the top 10 Tourist Attractions in Scotland – The Falkirk Wheel and The Kelpies. The areas is also home to the Antonine Wall (a Unesco world heritage site), Callendar House, Blackness Castle, Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway, the Hippodrome in Bo'ness, Kinneil House & Museum, the Dunmore Pineapple plus many more – the full range of attractions within the Falkirk area can be found at www.visitfalkirk.com.
In 2016, tourism was worth £110.2m to the local economy employing almost 2,000 people. The Falkirk area attracted over 930,000 visitors - evidence of continued significant growth in 2016. Between 2009 and 2016, the Falkirk area has seen an increase in visitor numbers of 50.2% and the economic impact of tourism has risen in this period by 51.6%. (2016 'STEAM' tourism report).
The Visit Scotland, Scotland Visitor Survey for Stirling, Falkirk & Forth Valley also provides some useful insights.
Falkirk Investing in Tourism
The multi-million pound investment in the Kelpies and Helix Park highlights Falkirk Council's commitment to ensuring the Falkirk area has a strong tourism offering. Scottish Canals have invested significantly in 2016 spending over £1million to upgrade the Falkirk Wheel. Premier Inn expanded and refurbished its four hotels in the area creating an additional 66 bed spaces. Falkirk Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) is investing £5.5 million to regenerate Falkirk Town Centre through investing in its unique heritage.
Falkirk Council along with its key partners, stakeholders and Falkirk area tourism businesses have developed a Tourism Strategy for the period up to 2020 with three key aims to:
- increase visitor expenditure in the Falkirk area by 20%
- To increase overnight visitor accommodation (serviced bedrooms and self-catering ) in the Falkirk area by 20%
- To develop a Falkirk Area Tourism Partnership to take ownership of the Falkirk area tourism strategy.
To download a copy of this strategy go to www.visitfalkirk.com/business
Tourism Development Sites
The Falkirk area has the following sites which have been identified for Tourism related activities: