Still room for tourist offices
Is VisitScotland ploughing a similar furrow to many banks by closing local branches under pressure from a rise in digital users? Banks have been criticised for damaging local communities by pulling out. A familiar accusation is that they are trying to drive more people into internet banking to make life easier and cheaper for themselves, rather than reacting to web use. It is a contested view, of course, but what is VisitScotland up to after announcing that it is slashing tourist offices from 65 to 26 – many of which are in the Highlands and Grampian? The facts seem to support their case: tourist office footfall has dropped 60% over the past 10 years, according to VisitScotland, whereas digital informationseeking has grown by a similar amount. Is it as simple as that? Remote impersonal browsing is one thing, but do visitors on the ground require a different service? A wider and more personalised approach – with helpful and reassuring advice from a friendly, experienced person face-to-face.