people at stranraer oyster festival

Stranraer Oyster Festival 2023 delivered £2.3million economic boost

Record breaking attendance at Stranraer Oyster Festival 2023 generated an additional £2.3million for the local economy, according to an independent economic impact report.

The study, which was carried out by MKA Economics, also noted that this level of visitor spend should help to safeguard 32 tourism related local jobs. 

The three-day festival took place in September, the start of the UK’s native oyster season, attracting more than 21,000 people to the scenic harbour town on the shore of Loch Ryan, home to Scotland’s last remaining wild, native oyster fishery. 

We provided support for the long term sustainability of the festival. It has also received support from Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Major Events Strategic Fund and Coastal Benefit Fund, and EventScotland’s National Events Funding Programme.

The work of Stranraer Development Trust is also supported by Kilgallioch Community Fund.

What were the findings of the report?

  • 90% of visitors were in the area as a direct result of the festival with increases in the numbers of visitors staying away from home to attend the event as well as an increase in first time visitors. 

  • The inbound tourism effect of the festival was substantially increased, with 40% of festival attendees coming to the region from elsewhere in Scotland and the UK, compared to 24% in 2022. 

  • Researchers also analysed the impact of the festival on participating local businesses and found traders reported individual economic impacts of up to £12k each.

  • More than half (61%) of traders said that the town’s hosting of the festival encouraged them to think about new ways to develop or promote their business, product or service.

Mark Kummerer of MKA Economics said:

“It is clear from the economic impact assessment and visitor and trader feedback that Stranraer Oyster Festival took a leap forward in 2023 in both economic impact measures, and in visitor enjoyment.

"Stranraer Oyster Festival is now a major focal point in South-West Scotland’s events calendar that in-bound visitors plan trips around, demonstrating strong and growing appeal for visitors.

"Economic impact of £2.3million for a three day event is highly significant, and visitor feedback suggests there is clearly considerable room for further growth and development.”

Romano Petrucci, Chair of Stranraer Development Trust, the community organisation behind the oyster festival, said: 

 “This event was created by our community to celebrate our place, our produce and our people and boy did we achieve that this year.

"But actually, what’s more important to me is the community collaboration that the oyster festival encourages.

"We have proven that we can achieve great things when we work together, and coming together as a community has never been more important. 

“With a Place Plan agreed and funding for major projects in the pipeline, Stranraer is at a critically important moment.

"Community-led development for Stranraer isn’t just about an oyster festival any more, it’s about major infrastructure projects that could catalyse our economic prospects."

Jane Morrison-Ross, Chief Executive of South of Scotland Enterprise, said:

“It is fantastic to see the Stranraer Oyster Festival go from strength to strength, as highlighted by the findings of the independent economic report.

“SOSE provided support to the Stranraer Development Trust for this year's festival and will aim to continue to do so to ensure its sustainability for many years to come.

“The festival also highlights the success of, and future potential of Stranraer, with a number of other exciting projects in development.

"SOSE is absolutely committed to working with partners to continue to support the regeneration of the town.”