INCOME generated by Scotland’s historic environment sector in 2017-18 has risen to more than £4 billion, with growth attributed to increasing tourist numbers, particularly international visitors.

The news was revealed by a new study by Historic Environment Scotland (HES). Its Our Place in Time (OPiT) annual performance report showed that as well as economic value, the historic environment provides social, cultural and environmental benefits to the nation’s wellbeing.

The study identified key performance indicators, including boosting education and skills, supporting the voluntary sector and playing a lead role in reducing carbon emissions.

HES leads and enables delivery of OPiT, reporting on progress to the Strategic Historic Environment Forum (SHEF) which is chaired by the Culture Secretary. This is the fourth OPiT report published since the strategy was launched in 2014 and includes case studies from over 60 organisations working in the historic environment sector.

The OPiT report found that the historic environment attracted 18 million visitors in 2018, generating £4.2 billion for Scotland’s economy in 2017-18.

Between 2014 and 2018, grants of more than £56m assisted repairs totalling more than £258m, with 41% of the historic buildings on the Buildings at Risk Register having been saved between 2009 – 2018.

More than 17,000 volunteers also engaged with the historic environment, contributing to 121,000 days of work.

Jane Ryder, Chair of HES, said: “There have been many achievements across the sector which have positively contributed to Scotland’s economy.

“As well as a rise in both the number and range of people visiting the historic environment, there has been a boost to the availability of skills through apprenticeships, fellowships and internships, plus additional FTE jobs created across the sector this year.

“Looking ahead, we hope to build on the success of the strategy so far. We will continue to work with partners in the sector to create a flourishing historic environment to ensure future generations can enjoy Scotland’s remarkable assets.”