The 7stanes are eight mountain biking centres spanning the south of Scotland, from the heart of the Scottish Borders to Dumfries and Galloway. Although mountain biking remains a key draw for visitors to these areas, there was evidence of a decline in visitor numbers and a need to engage further with key growth tourism markets such as families, multi-interest visitor groups and soft adventure. We worked closely with Forest and Land Scotland and other stakeholders to explore how funding for redevelopment from the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal could help develop the cycling tourism and community product in the South of Scotland, and how best to allocate the capital investment.
We adopted a mixed method approach, starting with desk research, followed by qualitative research and an online survey. A literature review of previous research studies provided first level insights and understanding and informed our research design. We then conducted focus group with users and non-users, to give us a full understanding into the competition that 7stanes faces and a qualitative understanding of the visitor journey. The final stage was an online survey that was distributed using QR codes placed in and near the 7stanes sites e.g. in local businesses around the Galloway and Tweed Valley Forest Parks and in other places e.g. social media and the 7stanes website – exceeding our target sample size and achieving 1,386 responses.
We delivered detailed analysis from each stage of research, as well as a presentation that pulled all stands of learning together. Forest and Land Scotland used findings from this research to inform their decision on how to allocate the capital investment and develop 7stanes as a destination for cyclists and the wider community.
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