Rural tourism has become an important part of many rural development strategies in the last decade. However, it has largely been ignored by rural economists. This paper examines the impact of different styles of tourism development on the local economy of Badenoch and Strathspey, in the Highlands of Scotland. Policy changes in tourism and agriculture are reviewed and the proportional multiplier method used in this study is explained. The study contrasts the repercussions on local economies of ‘soft’, land-based tourism with those arising from ‘hard’, enclave forms of tourism. The results indicate that soft tourism is more embedded in the local economy and therefore generates higher local income and employment multipliers per unit of visitor spend. However, spend per head is higher for hard tourists, suggesting that development agencies may have to trade off the total volume of visitor spend against locally beneficial effects.