Who visits the Park and why?
Visitor surveys help us understand who visits the Park and why so that we can manage it better for the future. Surveys are undertaken for a range of purposes throughout the National Park. For example, in the past some estates have undertaken surveys while in some popular parts of the Park specific surveys have been undertaken. The first Park-wide survey was published in 2005.
The five most important reasons for visiting were as follows:
Walking/hill walking 11%
Generally like the area, positive statement 9%
Visiting friends and relatives 9%
Always wanted to visit area 8%
Come regularly/visit often/been before 7%
The main things that people liked about the area revolve around the scenery of the area, with 46% of respondents mentioning the beautiful views/scenery. In addition, visitors stated the hills and wide spaces/rugged mountains (27%) and the peacefulness/easy going pace of life (25%).
Just over a half of all visitors (52%) said that nothing at all could have been improved to make their visit to the Cairngorms National Park more enjoyable. The three most commonly cited improvements were as follows:
More public toilets/better public toilets 3%
Better weather 3%
Better hotel accommodation 2%
In terms of where people get their information from, approximately half (55%) of all visitors said that they referred to information on the a previous visit. Second to this was advice from friends/ relatives which 17% of respondents used.
But what does all this mean for the management of the area? The large numbers of repeat visits indicate that many visitors are coming back because they like what they see. Clearly it is important to continue to protect the quality of the environment that people come to enjoy. It is also important to provide information on the area, in a format that can easily be taken away and shared with friends.