We’re cat­eran coun­try now

BEPTA aim is to get area no­ticed

Blairgowrie Advertiser - - NEWS - Clare Damodaran

Blair­gowrie and the sur­round­ing area is to be re­branded as‘cat­eran coun­try’.

The move was agreed by mem­bers of the Blair­gowrie and East Perthshire Tourist As­so­ci­a­tion (BEPTA) at their AGM, held last week in the An­gus Ho­tel in Blair­gowrie.

The lo­cal tourist as­so­ci­a­tion has been work­ing with a mar­ket­ing ex­pert to look at re-brand­ing its web­site and name.

Speak­ing at the AGM, chair of the as­so­ci­a­tion, Bob El­lis, said: “We have been try­ing to find out how we can get the BEPTA web­site fur­ther up the search rank­ings and no­ticed by more peo­ple and think that this will help us achieve that.”

He added: “Tourism is one of the area’s largest em­ploy­ers and we want to be able to sup­port our mem­bers’ busi­nesses as best we can in at­tract­ing vis­i­tors to the area and rais­ing aware­ness of the wealth of ac­tiv­i­ties and ser­vices that are on of­fer here.

“The AGM was an op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to share their feed­back and thoughts, and look at how we can all ben­e­fit from the re-brand­ing.”

The rec­om­men­da­tion to de­velop a ‘cat­eran coun­try’ theme came about fol­low­ing an in­ten­sive work­shop ses­sion led by Tricia Fox of Volpa.

At the AGM, she ex­plained: “The idea is to de­velop a strat­egy for ef­fec­tive pro­mo­tion and clear po­si­tion­ing of the area.

“We looked at cur­rent trends in the mar­ket­place, ex­ist­ing per­cep­tions of the area and how BEPTA com­mu­ni­cates.

“The thing that pulled all the strands to­gether is the story of trav­el­ling and trav­ellers - the five roads that come into Blair, peo­ple trav­el­ling to and trav­el­ling through the town.

“There is a long con­cept of trav­el­ling that has a strong iden­tity, and we ar­rived at the con­clu­sion that this area is the heart of cat­eran coun­try - it’s unique, no one else can claim to be cat­eran coun­try.

“It’s mem­o­rable, and it’s flex­i­ble to suit dif­fer­ent brands and mar­ket­ing cam­paigns and in­ter­pre­ta­tions, and it en­com­passes Blair­gowrie, Coupar An­gus, Strath­more, Mei­gle and the Glens.”

Bob said: “The cat­er­ans were all over this area in the 1700s and the Cat­eran Trail al­ready brings vis­i­tors from all over the world to the area.

“Over 8000 walk­ers a year are on the trail, from Aus­tralia, Ger­many, South Amer­ica and Kirk­michael and you can ski, walk, fish, eat, drink and cy­cle here too - you can do it all in cat­eran coun­try.”

He went on: “I’m not sure what we are get­ting out of be­ing branded as ‘east Perthshire’ and I think there are lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties to use this con­cept to suit all the var­i­ous dif­fer­ent busi­nesses and prod­ucts in this area.”

An­drew Mallinson, who runs out­door ac­tiv­ity busi­ness Moun­tain Sum­mits, and is also chair of Glen­shee and Strathar­dle Tourist As­so­ci­a­tion, was at the meet­ing.

He said: “I think there’s been a long-term need for some­thing to call this area for the ben­e­fit of all our busi­nesses and tourism in the area.

“In the ab­sence of any­thing else cat­eran coun­try kind of does it.

“If we have some­thing flex­i­ble enough that we can build on and that can un­der­pin what we do that has to be a good thing. “I think it is a pos­i­tive step for­ward.” In his re­port as chair to the AGM, Bob com­mented that it had been an­other busy year for BEPTA with rep­re­sen­ta­tives at­tend­ing a num­ber of meet­ings and events, in­clud­ing host­ing an out­door ac­tiv­ity sem­i­nar, chair­ing a panel to choose 100 ob­jects to tell the story of the Cat­eran Trail, and be­ing in­volved in the devel­op­ment of the new snow route which starts in Blair­gowrie.

Any­one wish­ing to find out more about BEPTA, its work and the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s re­brand­ing, should email vis­iteast perthshire@gmail.com in the first in­stance.

New di­rec­tion BEPTA di­rec­tors (back row from left) Vicky Bick­er­staffe, John Milne, Tra­cie Dick, Mur­ray Scott and Nick Cole, (front row) Karen Inkster, chair Bob El­lis, Sue Cole and John Pal­frey­man

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