Improving Staff Recruitment and Retention in the Tourism Industry 

Edinburgh Napier’s Tourism Research Centre (TRC) carries out research and knowledge exchange activities to help drive economic, social and cultural recovery and growth, across destinations and communities. Our TRC team of experts can support the tourism industry to access valuable research, and innovative-thinking and approaches to support the development advancement of the sector.


Recruitment and retention of staff within the Scottish tourism industry has been an ongoing challenge for the sector for a number of years. The Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA) had an anecdotal understanding of this problem from speaking with its member visitor attraction venues, but was keen to understand and gauge deeper the nature and extent of this issue in Scottish tourism.


ASVA partnered with Edinburgh Napier University tourism researchers and experts to conduct an empirical, detailed review on recruitment and retention issues across different generations in the tourism industry. ENU tourism experts also as part of this review, provided a series of valuable insightful recommendations of potential impactful solutions. 

Support to identify problems and expertise to develop meaningful solutions

The Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA) is the representative body for the visitor attractions sector in Scotland. With over 280 organisations in membership, it represents almost 500 individual sites all across the country, connecting the attractions sector together by providing advice, information, statistics, networking and training to help drive forward quality within the Scottish tourism sector.

In recognition of repeated anecdotal evidence that Scottish visitor attractions were encountering challenges in recruiting and retaining staff, ASVA appointed tourism experts from Edinburgh Napier University’s Tourism Research Centre to undertake a thorough research review to analyse and evaluate the recruitment and retention situation across the Scottish tourism sector.

Making the tourism sector a more rewarding place to work 

This valuable research conducted by Edinburgh Napier helped ASVA understand the key issues impacting the sector in terms of recruitment and retention, with the key findings of the review establishing that there were consistent themes emerging from tourism sector staff across generations, in issues such as the importance of work-life balance; making a contribution to the organisation; and a sense of belonging.

Edinburgh Napier shared their research findings at the ASVA annual conference and also, as part of the complete review process, fed back to some individual visitor attractions to give them proposed solutions and recommendations of steps they could take to improve recruitment and retention of staff - examples include: developing skills audits; devising retentions plans; and exploring more flexibly in terms of how to enhance the work environment, as well as opportunities for employees to feel a sense of belonging and that they were developing in their careers within their tourism organisation.

What makes Edinburgh Napier University special, is that they don’t just have expert knowledge on tourism, but they have a genuine understanding and passion for the industry.
Gordon Morrison, The Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA)

Our Tourism Research Centre

Research and knowledge exchange activities through our Tourism Research Centre help to drive economic, social and cultural recovery and growth across global destinations and communities.

Find out more about the Centre here
My experience of working with Edinburgh Napier, is that they are very collaborative. They will look to work in partnership with you and not just help you to identify what the problems are (as very often you can do that yourself), but they will work to help you identify solutions to the issues you are facing, and that makes them a joy to work with.
Gordon Morrison, The Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA)