US tycoon Donald Trump last night stood by his view that windfarms could ”completely end” tourism in Scotland – despite publication of a survey by tourism body VisitScotland which concluded the presence of a windfarm would have little impact on a decision to holiday in Scotland.
According to the survey, four out of five people have said windfarms do not affect their decisions over where to holiday in the UK. The same survey also found that more than half of people did not agree that the turbines spoiled the look of the UK or Scottish countryside.
The research, carried out for VisitScotland, was published as Mr Trump takes his fight against windfarms to the Scottish Parliament today.
But in an exclusive interview with The Courier on Tuesday, Donald Trump Jr, executive vice-president at The Trump Organisation, and the Trump Organisation’s legal counsel George Sorial, said Mr Trump’s belief remains that Scotland is ”in effect committing financial suicide” by pushing ahead with mass wind turbine development.
They again questioned the ”sanity” of the Scottish Government for allowing this to happen.
Mr Trump Jr said: ”I don’t know if the average tourist fully realises the multiple impact all these wind turbines would have. We are looking at something like 8,000 to 10,000 alone over the next two years.
”For the past few days we’ve been up here at Royal Aberdeenshire and we’ve received dozens of complaints about a 225 feet turbine that’s been put up near the 14th hole. That’s a third of the size of the offshore proposals and our research suggests tourists will just go elsewhere if the plans go ahead.
”Who would travel across the world to visit a golf course that overlooks an industrial landscape? What a tragedy it would be if Scotland’s own Government doesn’t do anything to protect an asset like the Scottish landscape.
”Unless there’s an overhaul of the planning system, it would be very difficult for me to say to anyone with a straight face that they should invest in Scotland.”
Donald Trump Sr is giving evidence on the issue to Holyrood’s economy, energy and tourism committee today.
However, the findings of the research appeared to contradict his views.
A total of 80% of UK respondents – and 83% of Scots surveyed – said the presence of a windfarm would not affect their decision about where to stay when on a holiday or short break in Britain.
When asked if windfarms spoil the look of the countryside 52.1% of people in both Scotland and across the UK disagreed, with a further 29.3% in the UK and 28.3% of Scots saying they neither agreed or disagreed.
Only 18.7% in the UK and 19.6% of Scots surveyed agreed windfarms spoil the look of the countryside.
Meanwhile, almost half of Scots – 46% – said they would be interested in visiting a windfarm development if it had a visitor centre, with 40% of UK respondents having the same opinion.
VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead said: ”We sell Scotland to the world, bringing millions of visitors to the country and boosting the economy by billions of pounds.
”The visitor experience is therefore a huge priority for us – we know visitors come here for the scenery and landscapes, and our marketing activity works hard to promote those aspects.
”We are both reassured and encouraged by the findings of this survey which suggest that, at the current time, the overwhelming majority of consumers do not feel windfarms spoil the look of the countryside.”
The survey comes a week after figures showed tourism in Scotland had increased by 9% between 2010 and 2011, with money spent by visitors up 14%.
Dr Sam Gardner, senior climate change policy officer at WWF Scotland, said: ”This poll is just the latest in recent days which show beyond doubt that the vast majority of public support wind power and that Donald Trump is wrong to try and prevent Scotland moving towards a renewable future.
”We know that renewables are both deliverable and necessary if we are to reduce climate emissions, create jobs and protect householders from rising energy prices caused by the dwindling availability of fossil fuels.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding