Tourists Respond Positively to Wind Farms

Nine out of ten tourists visiting some of Scotland’s most beautiful spots say the presence of wind farms makes no difference to the enjoyment of their holiday, and twice as many people would return to an area becauseof the presence of a wind farm than would stay away, according to a poll carried out by MORI Scotland.

Argyll, Scotland – October 29, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] Nine out of ten tourists visiting some of Scotland’s most beautiful spots say the presence of wind farms makes no difference to the enjoyment of their holiday, and twice as many people would return to an area because of the presence of a wind farm than would stay away, according to a poll carried out by MORI Scotland. A face-to-face survey of more than 300 visitors to Argyll, commissioned jointly by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) and the Scottish Renewables Forum (SRF), found that 91 percent said the presence of wind farms in the area made no difference to whether they would return, dispelling the myth that wind farms and tourism cannot co-exist. About 1 in 5 had actually seen one of the three wind farms in Argyll and when asked what effect if any they had had on their impression of Argyll, 55 percent of these people said “generally or completely positive,” 32 percent “ambivalent” and only eight percent “negative”. Detailed interviews were carried out over two September weekends near some of Argyll’s top beauty spots and, found that the scenery was by far the main attraction of the area. Questioned about the attraction or otherwise of wind farm visitor and information centers, eight out of ten people said they would be interested in visiting one during their stay. The poll, the first major test of opinion of visitors in a scenic area where wind farms are already operating, backs recent Scottish Executive surveys of residents near wind farms whose opinion of the sites became more positive after it became operational. “This survey dispels the myth that tourists are put off by wind farms in scenic areas,” said Rob Forrest, SRF’s Chief Executive. “Scotland has the potential to become wind energy capital of Europe as we have the best wind resources. We can use these resources to benefit the economy, the environment and now tourism.” “This survey is good news for both wind energy and rural communities,” said Alan Mortimer, Head of Wind Development at ScottishPower, the UK’s biggest wind farm developer. “We work closely with local communities when building new sites and plans for our major wind farms include visitor centers to cater for the interest from the public.” “This once and for all firmly establishes 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. “This is obviously good news for the industry, not only in Scotland, but for the whole of the UK.” MORI interviewed 307 tourists face-to-face in five locations: Tarbet, Inverary, Oban, Campbeltown and Lochgilphead during the weekends of 21-23 and 27-29 September 2002.
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