A Scottish hotel in a rural location could prove to be a lucrative investment opportunity, as more and more seek an authentic Highland experience, complete with deer stalking. According to research from Savills, demand and prices for this pursuit have increased in recent years despite the recession.
The study analysed the cost of deer stalking in 2012, in addition to the level of interest in the sport. Taking place as the stag season closed and the hind season began, Savills focussed their investigation on the 500,000 acres they manage and compared this year's performance with 2011.
Alastair Gemmell of Savills explained: "Prices increased by an average of five per cent this year, with those in more accessible locations, where demand is greater, rising by 21 per cent since the general economic downturn began.
"Over the past five years on Dalnacardoch Estate in Perthshire, prices have risen to GBP 400 per stag. However despite the rise in prices, the shooting lodge remained at full occupancy throughout this year's stag season, with bookings already made for 2013."
While the sport still has an exclusive edge, in a bid to boost revenue, many estate owners have gone in search of enterprising ways to open up the market. This means more and more people can enjoy the sport. This will have a direct implication for tourism in rural areas, with hotels experiencing a greater demand during deer stalking season.
Mr Gemmell claims that the pursuit is already attracting foreign visitors, with two thirds of participants coming from outside of Scotland. "Scottish stag stalking is very much seen as the holy grail of country sports throughout Europe," he said. While the majority of deer stalkers are men, women are increasingly turning to the sport. Savills claim that females accounted for ten per cent of bookings last year.
Across the board, the Scottish tourism industry has enjoyed a positive year, with visitor numbers increasing by three per cent and average spend rising by 12.6 per cent.
- Wednesday 07 November 2012