Heritage means building a future on the past

Written by Alex Paterson, HES on 5 May 2017 in Comment

ASSOCIATE FEATURE: Historic Environment Scotland's chief executive on how the organisation is celebrating the year of History, Heritage and Archeology

Stones of Stenness - credit Steve Keiretsu

Heritage and History, by their nature, chiefly concern the past and at Historic Environment Scotland we’re working to ensure our past plays a key role in Scotland’s future.

As we celebrate the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, it’s appropriate to consider how important our historic environment is and the positive difference we, as the sector’s lead body, are making.

We currently generate £430m for Scotland’s economy and support around 13,000 full time jobs. We also spent over £32m with Scottish suppliers last year and over the last decade, awarded over £140m in grants to assist repairs of historical properties across our communities.

We also contribute to education, skills and learning, with over 100,000 learners participating in our schemes, apprenticeships and community programmes in 2016.

We want to build on this, working with partners to make a positive impact across a range of important agendas such as community development and tourism.

Tourism is a key sector of our economy and particularly important to rural areas where many of our properties are located.

Last year we saw a new heritage tourism record, of over 4m visitors to our sites and we will continue to set high standards of visitor experience as we welcome visitors from around the world. We’ll also continue to reach out to new audiences, promoting Heritage for All, to enthuse people from all walks of life.

These and further commitments were recently published in our latest Annual Operating Plan which sets out our direction of travel for this financial year. Working to this and our wider, three year corporate plan, we aim to ensure Scotland’s past continues to positively shape its future.

Alex Paterson is the CEO of Historic Environment Scotland

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