The Field Studies Council’s (FSC) initiative, Real Family Holidays, is set to generate a potential income of £60,000 to the economy of Millport and Largs next month.
Over 60 families from all over the UK and beyond will visit the refurbished Millport facilities during period from the 14th July to the 5th August. For the overwhelming majority of visitors, this will be the first time in the area, with a potential to lure them into returning, creating additional income.
The 160 plus people booked so far will be involved in environment-related activities, from rock pooling and mammal trapping, to snorkelling and boat trips on board of the FSC’s own RV Actinia. On top of that, they will also have time to explore Largs and Millport at their own leisure. In previous editions of the initiative, local businesses such as bike hire shops, ice-cream shops, cafés and pubs have benefitted from the knock-on effect of the visitors. The holiday average length of stay is 4 nights per family: this represents a unique opportunity for the local economy, which is usually reliant on day visits. It is the fifth time FSC Millport is running the holidays initiative and as the initiative has been widely successful in the past editions, this is likely to go ahead for many more years.
Families from as far away as Kent, Cornwall, Italy and Hungary will be accommodated at the FSC Millport centre. So far, 740 bed nights have been booked at the centre for Summer 2017 in relation to this initiative. With the average spending for each bed night in Scotland estimated by Visit Scotland at £80 , this has a potential to generate around £60,000 for local businesses.
The goal of the holiday is to get families with small kids to escape the pressures of modern life for a few days, and learn about the environment first-hand. The FSC is an environmental educational charity that wants to bring environmental understanding to all through first-hand experience. Real Family Holidays is one of the latest initiatives created in order to widen the FSC’s traditional customer base, mainly made up of school and university students’ fieldwork visits. The centre welcomes thousands of school and university students each year. They love learning about the environment, but also enjoy the fantastic settings of the Isle of Cumbrae, its exceptional wildlife and stunning views across to Arran.
Since the FSC took over the facilities run by the University Marine Biological Station in Millport, the site has been completely redeveloped. North Ayrshire Council and the Scottish Government gave the FSC a substantial grant which was spent on modernising the historical facilities and on building an additional accommodation block with en suite rooms. The FSC has a well-established reputation nation-wide as an environmental education charity: the company lobbies the UK and Scottish governments about improving the provision of outdoor education in the Curriculum, and it campaigns for initiatives aimed at encouraging people to experience the outdoors. The FSC also re-invests part of its profits into a Bursary Fund in which students from deprived backgrounds can apply to, allowing them to experience one of its courses and learn more about the environment.
Alex MacFie, the centre manager, spoke thus of the Real Family Holidays: “It is a fantastic initiative which we are happy to host for the 5th time in three years. Everyone benefits from this, adults who get to spend time with their kids in new settings, children who make new friends instantly, and clearly Millport as a whole benefits too”.
From Largs and Millport News: http://www.largsandmillportnews.com/news/15405711.Field_Studies_boost_for_Largs_and_Millport_economy/