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Working together to reopen tourism in Ayrshire and Arran

- With lockdown restrictio­ns due to be eased next month, VisitScotl­and chief executive Malcolm Roughead talks about the recovery of tourism in Ayrshire and Arran and the establishm­ent of a new tourism strategic group in the region.

‘As we look forward to the reopening of tourism in Scotland once again, following the announceme­nt of indicative dates last week, it is with renewed optimism in Ayrshire and Arran.

The coronaviru­s pandemic has had a devastatin­g impact on the tourism and events industry in Scotland and has changed the lives of people across the country. We won’t just be able to push a button and tourism will recover. We have had a year of very little investment, job losses and business closures and it will take time and significan­t support to get us back to a thriving industry.

But what we do know is that with the right support, tourism can lead the economic recovery and boost inward investment where it is needed most.

In Ayrshire and Arran, tourism is worth more than £600million and its importance to the economic recovery of the region has been recognised with the formation of a new industry group to drive forward recovery.

For the last nine months, I have had the opportunit­y as chairman of the Ayrshire Visitor Economy Strategy Group, a sub-group of the Ayrshire Economic Partnershi­p, to bring together representa­tives from the tourism industry in Ayrshire and Arran to work together to support the recovery of this vital part of Scotland’s economy.

The group – which includes tourism industry representa­tion as well as representa­tives from North, South and East Ayrshire Councils, Scottish Enterprise, Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce, The Coig, VisitArran and the Scottish Tourism Alliance – was establishe­d with the aim of providing new focus for the tourism industry in the region.

We have met several times in recent months to set out and develop a programme of tourism destinatio­n developmen­ts to champion all that Ayrshire and Arran has to offer and tackle regional recovery.

It is an important step for tourism across the region. Led by the industry, for the industry, the group aims to bring a fresh approach to creating a successful, collaborat­ive and thriving environmen­t to drive forward success.

By coming together, tourism businesses can play their part in ensuring the future of tourism across the region. We know we have a long road ahead of us but working in collaborat­ion will make the journey stronger and more effective.

As we start to prepare for the reopening of tourism once again, the group will continue to progress work across the key themes of digital developmen­t, marketing, product developmen­t and destinatio­n management. We will continue to keep tourism businesses informed of these developmen­ts to help spread the word and encourage engagement.

Tourism businesses are being encouraged to sign up to VisitScotl­and’s closed industry Facebook group to keep up-to-date with developmen­ts from the group and find out how to get involved, as well as finding out the latest regional tourism news and opportunit­ies.’

 ??  ?? Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotl­and.
Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotl­and.

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