Scenario Planning VisitScotland

Scenario PlanningScenario planning is a strategic planning method increasingly used by organisations to make flexible long-term plans in response to forecast trends and drivers. VisitScotland has been engaged in scenario planning since 2001 undertaking scenario construction, environmental scanning and economic modelling.

The Moffat Centre worked with VisitScotland as early as 2003 and again in 2008 to establish the framework to then focus scenario building exercises.

An extensive environmental scanning exercise was carried out initially by the Moffat Centre team and BeeSuccessful. Each item of information was entered into Idons-For-Thinking Software and subsequently organised in clusters of information, to finally identify macro trends and drivers. In total, just under 30 trends and drivers were identified.

Subsequently, John led expert workshops in May 2004 with the aim of making sense and exploring issues with informed stakeholders. The participants included industry representatives, academics and representatives of the National Tourism Organisation.

The aims of the workshops were to ascertain:- the views of industry and the expert group on the identified scenarios; trends and drivers that had perhaps been omitted; the experts’ ratings of the various drivers identified. Seven main drivers were identified as influencing tourism performance:

1.    Demographics and People

2.    People in a Global Society

3.    A sustainable approach to living

4.    Technology, Information and Communication

5.    Politics and Governance

6.    Transport and Oil

7.    Inflation and Affluence

Findings were written into an initial report in 2005 entitled ‘Drivers and Scenarios of Scottish Tourism: shaping the future to 2015’.

In 2008, the Moffat Centre was asked to contribute once more towards developing new scenarios. The Moffat Centre carried out a number of activities:

-    Elite Interviews: The Moffat Centre interviewed some 15 high profile world tourism stakeholders to explore a number of futures-thinking issues. The interviews produced a set of elite qualitative data.

-    Workshop participation: The Moffat Centre participated in 4 workshops over four days exploring themes of consumer trends and ‘the future of the world’. Workshop attendees include industry professionals, entrepreneurs and intelligence analysts.

Findings were used to construct scenarios based on the following research findings:

•    Climate change and environmental impacts of unregulated tourism and wider economic growth are commonly identified aspects of the future of Scottish tourism

•    The importance to the consumer of sustainable business and responsible commercial practice to underpin a wider policy and practice agenda in this area

•    The centrality of technology and its persuasive influence on all parts of our business and leisure behaviour. The rapidity of development is reflected in the scale of innovation and service improvement such technology drives.

•    Demographic impacts on tourism demand and wider consumer behaviour will continue to drive change and impact on product and service requirements in the hospitality and tourism sectors.

•    Time and quality of work/leisure experiences will continue to impact on how we behave in our increasingly busy and merged work/leisure lives. Escape, real experiences, relaxation and luxury will be combined with connectivity, cutting edge technology and flawless product/service interfaces in successful destinations.

•    Investment and growth in tourism will be increasingly a product of global capital. We have real potential for our resorts and quality products to be in the hands of global companies who will increase or contract holdings based upon markets and return on investment. Indigenous industry may well contract to the SME sector and the micro enterprises which make up a significant level of the Scottish product.

These were collated and published into the report titled ‘New Futures: Scenarios for Scottish Tourism in 2030’ set out three scenarios about Scottish Tourism to 2030 to inform VisitScotland’s 2015 strategic target.

Also, findings were published in several academic articles with Ian Yeoman, VisitScotland’s then Scenario Planner.