Published on : Wednesday, June 14, 2017
VisitScotland Chairman John Thurso and members of the national tourism organisation’s Board visited Oban last week (8 June) to meet key Argyll & The Isles industry partners at the Perle Oban on the first month anniversary of the hotel’s official opening.
As part of VisitScotland Board’s Engagement Strategy, a series of meetings are being held around the country to enable the Chairman and Board members to hear directly from industry stakeholders in order to gain a better understanding of both positive developments as well as challenges facing the tourism industry across the regions
VisitScotland works closely with a range of organisations including Argyll & Bute Council, Argyll & The Isles Tourism Cooperative (AITC), and Highlands and Islands Enterprise as well as a host of companies including Calmac Ferries and West Coast Motors as well as local tourism and hospitality businesses to support the high quality tourism offering that is vital to the future sustainability of the economy of Argyll & The Isles.
Tourism is at the centre of economic success in the region, supporting 6000 jobs, sustaining communities, generating £81 million in gross value added for the local economy and providing a shop window for business activity.
Prior to their visit, the Board had been briefed on important new projects underway across the region including:
VisitScotland Regional Director David Adams McGilp also showed Lord Thurso the construction site of Oban’s new £7 million transit berthing and associated maritime visitor facilities. He also highlighted other marine and coastal developments including investment in pontoons and shore facilities in Campbeltown and smaller scale marine infrastructure improvements such as those on Tiree and Gigha.
The round table meeting and stakeholders’ dinner at the Perle Oban was attended by: Fergus Murray – Head of Economic Development, Argyll & Bute Council; Fraser Durie – Principal, Argyll College, University of the Highlands and Islands; David Smart – Head of Special Projects, Highlands and Islands Enterprise; Colin Craig – Chief Executive of West Coast Motors, David Cannon – Group Public Affairs Manager of CalMac Ferries Ltd; Gavin Dick – Chair of Inveraray Marketing Group/Inveraray Jail. Carron Tobin – Development Manager of Rural Dimensions and Argyll & The Isles Tourism Cooperative also attended and provided an update on AITC’s innovative ‘Wild About Argyll’ campaign, which has been supported by £40,000 through VisitScotland’s Growth Fund. Attending the dinner too was VisitScotland Regional Director David Adams McGilp.
At Loch Melfort Hotel in Arduaine on the previous evening, the Chairman also met and had dinner with: Cleland Sneddon, Chief Executive of Argyll & Bute Council; Andrew Wilson – Chairman of Heart of Argyll Tourism Alliance; Niall McAllister-Hall, of Torrisdale Castle and Explore Argyll; Linda Battison of Cologin Self-Catering and Oban & Lorn Tourism Alliance; and local hotel and resort expert Beppo Buchanan-Smith.
Lord Thurso said: “Our visit to Oban was extremely informative and valuable. As the national tourism organisation, one of our top priorities is to ensure effective partnership working with our colleagues in the industry so it’s vital that we get a chance to speak directly to our stakeholders. We try to create opportunities for our industry partners to meet with us to discuss their achievements locally as well as the challenges they face. Taking our Board meetings out and about around the country to the places and people that embody the Spirit of Scotland is a great way of doing that.”