Facts and Figures

Moray is well known for its outstanding natural resources, renowned brands, world famous coastlines and high standard of living. Voted as one of the top 5 rural regions in Scotland for quality of life, Moray offers affordable housing, great schools and beautiful scenery.

View our leaflet showcasing Moray (PDF)

An Excellent Location

Inverness Airport is only 35 minutes away, whilst Aberdeen Airport is no more than a 90-minute drive. Moray has better air connections than most UK locations with 138 flights per week including 35 flights to London airports and a daily connection into the international hub of Amsterdam. Every UK city can be reached within a single day of legal commercial driving hours.   (see also Enterprise Park Forres and HIE Moray overview) .


The 2011 census shows an increase to 93,300 people resident in Moray.  The 2017 Mid-Year Estimate is 95,780 (National Registers of Scotland)


Moray offers a well-educated, skilled workforce with a great reputation for customer service with low staff turnover and high retention rates. However, the area has access to an even wider labour pool as there are 236,000 people within a one hour drive of Elgin.  Moray has 85% of its working age population in employment which is higher than the Scottish average (80%). 

Workers in Moray are more likely to have a skill than across Scotland as a whole. Moray
College is part of the new University of the Highlands and Islands and has and has over 8,000 enrolled students. It offers a range of degree and postgraduate courses. Moray has a strong educational base and there are eight secondary schools, which in 2011 produced 1,021 school leavers. Some 89% went on to further or higher education or to gain employment. 


  • 10% of Moray’s workforce work in food and drink manufacturing (Scottish average 1.69%)
  • 8.33% of all those employed in food and drink manufacturing in Scotland work in Moray
  • Over 8,000 people employed in engineering disciplines (excluding the RAF) including manufacturing, construction and utilities.
  • 17.1% of Moray’s workforce in manufacturing (Scottish average 8.1%)
  • 10% of Moray’s workforce in tourism.

Food and Drink


Moray with its fantastic natural larder is a food lover’s dream.  Stretching from the Cairngorms in the south to the Moray Firth in the north, the geography of Moray lends itself to a rich abundance of quality food products – some of them such as Walkers Shortbread , and  Baxters renown the world over.    With over 55 distilleries it has the largest concentration of whisky distilleries in Scotland – some of the oldest and best known but also some exciting newcomers in whisky and in the renaissance of new mircrobreweries and also gin with the Gordon Castle gin which uses herbs from its wonderful walled garden.

The fast flowing river Spey which flows through much of Moray lends itself to much of this rich food source adding the gentle flavour to the drinks and foodstuffs along its banks to the fabulous sea food from the Moray Firth itself.

Sit down for dinner and Moray could well have provided everything you eat – some of the finest smoked salmon for a starter, a fantastic rib of roast beef reared on some of the best grass pasture in the country and ice cream for dessert from traditional manufacturers to the newer such as the Great Taste Award winner 2015 – the Fochabers ice Cream Parlour.

Food & drink manufacturing accounts for 36% of Moray’s economy compared to 4.4% for Scotland as a whole.

New Business

There are around 300 new business starts each year in Moray according to the Office of National Statistics. 128 new businesses were assisted by Business Gateway in the year to March 2018, resulting in the creation of 186 full-time equivalent jobs.  And of businesses receiving support over the past three years, 86% continue  to trade successfully with the backing of Business Gateway (to 2018).


Moray average house price £147,875 2018 February,  Scottish average £144,377 (HM Land Registry).


Moray has 45 primary schools and 8 secondary schools and in 2017 Moray Council had responsibility for educating just over 11,900 pupils. In 2016/17 the eight secondary schools produced 928 school leavers. Some 90.7% went on to further or higher education or to gain employment.


Moray provides a firm foundation for a high value tourism sector and represents a hidden opportunity. The location is highly accessible and has a tremendously varied tourism offer with exciting development opportunities available for hotel and tourism businesses.  The area is famous for hunting, shooting and fishing. The mountains, coast, forestry, National Park and market towns offer outdoor and indoor pursuits. 

10% of Moray’s workforce in tourism and 3.8% of total turnover of businesses. The economic impact of tourism in Moray rose to £128.88M in 2017 (an increase of £11M or 9.6% on the previous year) In 2017 visitor numbers increased to 806,190 (up around 50,000 or 7.4%) The total number of visitor days increased to 1,874,470 (up 75,000 or 4.2%) Total employment supported by tourism rose by 77 full-time equivalent posts to 2,846.

Since 2009, an extra 177,000 people have visited the area, spending an additional £92 million pounds (Moray Speyside Tourism).

Moray Speyside - STEAM Tourism Economic Impacts Report 2017

For more information about Moray and Tourism

Life Sciences

Moray is emerging as a prime location in research and development for the life science and digital healthcare sector.  There are a number of strands of life science activity emerging in Moray. The area has a growing reputation in developing digital and online technologies to improve service delivery and efficiency. Although these strands have emerged independently, they are complementary and have arisen because of the unique health ecosystem which puts Moray in a strong position to develop, pilot and test comprehensive digital healthcare models.

Leading edge digital health solutions are being developed in the Moray area, strengthened by a growing cluster and critical mass of activity along the A96 Inverness to Elgin “corridor”, which can now be seen as one of the world’s first true digital healthcare clusters. Comprising of more than 40 organisations including, Nongovernment Organisations, health boards, academia and commercial companies such as OpenBrolly, who designs healthcare apps for mobile devices and international IT company Atos, both of which are located at the EPF.

The Enterprise Park Forres is home to a mix of diverse businesses across a range of sectors. The park provides a thriving environment with a unique range of high quality units, land development opportunities and an on-site business and innovation centre, Horizon Scotland. EPF has been awarded Enterprise Area Status for Life Sciences by the Scottish Government, covering 25 acres of the 100 acre park. The Inverness Campus 28 miles away joined by the “corridor” have also been awarded with this status. The Enterprise Area status offers additional incentives and support to investors locating on the park.

The Alexander Graham Bell Centre is designed to support the ground breaking work being carried out in digital healthcare in the Moray region. The £6.5 million project has created a “centre of excellence” located at the Moray College University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) campus in Elgin. This collaborative hub will provide opportunities and facilities for new business and research, creating important and strong links between the private sector, medical practitioners and academia.

Engineering, Production and Manufacturing

Moray is a natural location to establish an engineering business to support the oil and gas and renewable energy sectors. With its long history as an engineering and fabrication base for the oil and gas and distillation industries it is perfectly placed for diversification into the renewable energy supply chains.

Electrical and mechanical engineering skills are highly developed in the local workforce, including those making the transition from armed forces to civilian life. The strengths of engineering and the strategy to diversify the benefits of the oil and gas industry around Scotland put Moray in a prime position as a great place to invest.


The area has a track record in military aerospace.  RAF Lossiemouth is one of the largest and busiest fast-jet bases in the Royal Air Force.   It became a Typhoon main operating base in summer 2014 and is home to 3 Typhoon Squadrons)  Kinloss Barracks is home to 39 Engineer Regiment and was, until 2012, RAF Kinloss the base for the UK’s Nimrod fleet.    This military presence means that electrical and mechanical engineering skills are highly developed in the local workforce, including those making the transition from armed forces to civilian life. The strengths of engineering and the strategy to diversify the benefits of the oil and gas industry around Scotland put Moray in a prime position as a great place to invest.

Famous Moravians (see Moray Official Guide)

Britain’s first Labour Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald was born in Lossiemouth in 1866.

James Gordon Bennett born at Keith in 1795 founded and edited the New York Herald.

Lord Strathcona, (1820 to 1914) who left Forres aged 17 for Canada.  He became Resident Governor of The Hudson Bay  Company and created the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Sir Alexander Grant (1864-1937) born in Forres is said to have invented the ‘digestive’ biscuit.

Macbeth ruled Scotland from 1040 until 1057 providing a strong and capable leadership.  Rather than the despot made infamous by Shakespeare, Macbeth had a legitimate claim to Kingship and defeated Duncan in battle just outside Elgin.

Wildlife (see Moray Official Guide)

Much of the uplands of Moray lie within the Cairngorms National Park, while on the coast there are nature reserves of national and local status.

Red deer are frequently encountered in herds in the higher and more remote parts of Moray.  Its smaller cousin the Roe inhabits more low-lying areas.    Foxes and badgers are abundant, whilst much rarer the wildcat and pine marten have a hold in Moray.   Indigenous Red squirrels however still survive in reasonable numbers.     But perhaps the most celebrated mammal is the bottle-nose dolphin, a colony of around 130 live in the Moray Firth.

Grey and common seals are relatively common offshore.   Findhorn Bay is a staging post for many thousands of migrating wildfowl and waders in winter and during the summer is a reliable spot to observe Osprey.

Don't Miss

Bowfiddle Rock at Portnockie – a rock shaped by the sea in the shape of a bow fiddle.

Craigellachie Bridge

Randolph’s Leap within easy walking distance of the B9007 near Logie.

Ben Rinnes at 2,775 ft – Moray’s highest mountain although Ben Macdui, the second highest in the UK at 4,295 ft is on the southern edge of Moray’s border.

Nelson’s Tower, Forres 65ft octagonal tower.

Malt Whisky Trail : www.maltwhiskytrail.com

Visitor Centres and Heritage Centres:  (Moray Connections)

Did You Know?  (source HIE: Live, work relax Moray)

  • Moray is home to 18 golf courses including the highest tee in Scotland.
  • Voted by National Geographic Moray’s 35 miles of golden sandy beaches are in the top 12 most beautiful and unspoiled  in the world.
  • One of the sunniest and driest regions in the UK  
  • Of the Scottish local authority areas Moray was placed 7th for quality of life
  • Moray distilleries produce more Malt Whisky than the rest of the world combined.
  • Moray is home to the world’s only Malt whisky trail and half of all Scotland’s distilleries
  • The official tartan for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games was woven in Moray
  • Electrical components made in Moray have travelled 6 miles into the earth’s core and out 140 million miles to Mars.

Events and Festivals

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