Country Sports Tourism and Brexit
Earlier this year VisitScotland published the results of their Industry Barometer for the first quarter of 2019. Visitor performance indicators showed 67% of tourism businesses felt numbers were similar or had increased in the period with 66% of tourism businesses experiencing an increase in numbers from overseas. This contrasted with the recently published tourism statistics, also by VisitScotland. The first quarter of 2019 showed a decline of 35.1% of international inbound trips compared to the same period in 2018. Spend by those visitors was down 42.6%. This against continuing uncertainty around Brexit. The VisitScotland Q1 statistics report can be viewed here.
The low value of the pound against other countries’ currencies may well be offsetting an even steeper decline in visitor numbers and spend. We await the next set of figures with some concern. That said, in value for money terms, it should make Scotland an attractive country sports destination for tourists.
What the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group (SCSTG) must do, however, is evaluate what impact Brexit could have on our sector.
Depending upon what sort of Brexit deal the Prime Minister negotiates, EU Firearms Passes (EFP) may no longer be recognised by the UK authorities, including the police. Their sponsors will still have to apply for a UK Visitor’s Permit if they want to travel with their own shot guns or rifle but it could be no longer acceptable to produce a copy of their EFP to support their application. This does not weaken current firearm controls as the police will continue to assess an applicant’s fitness to hold a firearm as part of their consideration of the Visitor’s Permit application. It just means that additional documentation such as national hunting licenses or firearms certificates will have to be produced. We understand that the Home Office hopes to avoid this additional complexity.
The UK has been given approval to continue exporting animals and products of animal origin to the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit. However, exports of animals and their products would need to go through an EU border inspection post (BIP) and be accompanied by an export health certificate (EHC) obtainable from a vet or local authority inspector. This, obviously, would apply to deer heads and possibly other trophies.