The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) is embarking on a wide-ranging consultation with stakeholders as it aims to improve the visitor experience at Scotland’s premier agricultural event.
RHASS is considering ways in which it can deliver a better event for the 187,000 visitors who attend the show each year.
One concern, clearly highlighted by visitor and exhibitor feedback, is the incidents of anti-social behaviour caused by over consumption of alcohol.
RHASS is hoping that by engaging with stakeholders at an early stage in the planning of the 2016 event a number of innovative solutions can be found to a concern which threatens to damage the reputation of the event.
Commenting on the approach, RHASS Chairman William Gill said: “There is no doubt that the Royal Highland Show is a much-enjoyed social occasion as well as an important showcase for the best in farming, food and rural life. With a positive and proactive approach, it is possible to deliver an event which is both sociable and enjoyable.”
“While at the early stages, some of the measures being considered by RHASS and its working group are changes to licensed premises, improved monitoring and security and reinforcing the time honored values of the “Highland”.
Adding his support, RHASS Chief Executive, Stephen Hutt added: “The Royal Highland Show has a rich heritage and an enviable reputation as one of the UK’s best agricultural shows and one of Scotland’s distinctive events. We have been successful over the last number of years in attracting larger audiences from both rural and urban communities, thereby helping to bridge the gap between the farmer, producer and consumer.
“Our responsibility, therefore, has to be to deliver a safe event for all audiences and we simply cannot have visitors put off attending by incidents of anti-social behaviour.
“We have a responsibility also to our exhibitors and partners who are attracted by the brand values of the show. Any damage to the Royal Highland’s or the Society’s reputation threatens the viability of the event, which is a cornerstone of the Society and allows us to fulfill our charitable remit. We need to protect the many generations of hard work gone into building the event’s reputation.”