As insurance brokers, what appealed to Bruce Stevenson to partner with the Scottish Tourism Alliance?
We joined the STA to build up our knowledge and appreciation of the tourism industry and better understand what services we could bring to market. As a result, we've been able to build robust working relationships with industry organisations and on the back of this, create bespoke insurance products, tailored to their needs.
What political and economic trends have you seen across the Scottish tourism industry in the last few years and how have these affected the insurance industry?
The weakness of the pound overseas and uncertainty surrounding Brexit has meant an increase of UK residents choosing to holiday at home. We’ve also seen more international visitors take advantage of their better performing currencies. The majesty of the Scottish landscape and the authenticity of the tourism offering here continues to draw visitors in ever increasing numbers.
As the Bed & Breakfast and Self-Catering market grows, it also diversifies. Consumers are on the lookout for higher-end options and niche offerings such as glamping and staying in pods, yurts and upcycled shepherds’ huts. Our clients are expanding into experiential focused opportunities and in order to do this, they need to ensure they have the right level of specialist insurance cover in place.
What visitor attractions are on the increase?
The boom in the Scottish drinks industry has brought visitors from across the globe looking for authentic whisky, gin and beer experiences. A great example is the launch of the Hebridean Whisky Trail and the increasing popularity in distillery visitor centres. The Spirit of Speyside Festival attracted over 28k visitors and 60% of these were from outwith the EU. This is clear evidence that the industry is experiencing vast interest.
What’s insurance experience and skills have you been able to bring to the tourism industry?
Through our STA membership, we were introduced to the Association of Self Caterers (ASSC). Working in close partnership, we were able to identify a gap in the Self-Catering and Bed & Breakfast market and we created an insurance product specifically designed for small to medium-sized businesses within this sector.
Bruce Stevenson is developing a niche for independent distillers within Scotland, as we understand the demands of commercial distilling, warehousing and distribution. We have tailored products to enable our clients to protect their assets. As whisky and gin sales increase and industry tourism thrives, we are proud to see our clients’ brands grow within this market. We are always delighted to support our clients commercially, as we do with our sponsorship of the award- winning Arbikie ‘A Club’ at the Edinburgh Fringe.
What developments do you see foresee for tourism in the near future and how do you envisage Bruce Stevenson’s role within the market?
Legislative change is expected within the self-catering market and we have to keep a watchful eye on this. The proposed ‘Tourism Tax’ certainly looks like it might take off in Edinburgh, with other places potentially following. Most distilleries are opening visitor centres and Johnny Walker’s flagship centre in Edinburgh is going to make quite a statement. Initiatives such as the North Coast 500 have given a huge boost to local economies, and it will be wonderful to see this success replicated in other parts of the country.
As STA’s CEO Mark Croathall says: “Tourism is everybody's business’. Bruce Stevenson is actively involved in recognising and celebrating the wealth of creative talent in Scotland today with our ongoing sponsorship of events such as the Scottish Thistle Awards, and the Scottish Whisky Awards. We are hugely positive about the future of Scottish tourism and look forward to continuing our work with each of our industry partners.