Wind powers Scottish tourism

Contrary to what was once feared, wind farms do not detract tourism, according to a MORI survey - the first major test of visitor’s opinions of wind farm areas.

The poll, commissioned by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) and the Scottish Renewables Forum (SRF), surveyed 300 visitors to Argyll, a wind farm functioning area.

Tourist Attitudes towards Wind Farms finds that for 91% of those surveyed, the presence of renewable energy generators had no bearing on whether they would come back to the area.

Forty-three percent of the visitors reported a positive effect from the presence of wind farms, with another 43% claiming windmills had an ‘equally positive and negative’ effect on their stay.

Scotland’s renewable energy potential is vast (see related story), however it has been feared capitalising on this would jeopardise its tourist industry.

“This survey dispels the myth that tourist are put off by wind farms in scenic areas. Scotland has the potential to become the wind capital of Europe as we have the best wind resources,” says Rob Forrest, Chief Executive of SRF.

The survey also found that 80% of those polled would be interested in visiting a wind farm, given the opportunity.

“This once and for all confirms what has long been known to people in the wind business, namely that wind farms are popular and can become tourist attractions in their own right,” said BWEA’s Chief Executive Nick Goodall.

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