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Local businesses to play part in Tourism Outer Hebrides 2020

26 July 2013

Tourism businesses and organisations in the Outer Hebrides are encouraged to take part in workshops to help develop the new strategy for the area – Tourism Outer Hebrides 2020.

The workshops are open to anyone with an interest in tourism in the islands and will be held in four different locations from 26-29 August.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has commissioned a consultant, Carron Tobin of ruralDimensions, to work with businesses, communities and wider stakeholders in the development of the Outer Hebrides as a world-class tourism destination.

HIE’s Mairi Buchanan said: “Tourism is a key sector for HIE and one that can make a significant contribution to a competitive region. There are amazing opportunities in the Outer Hebrides and a lot of good work is already happening. The industry is vital to the most fragile areas of the islands and this project aims to identify a range of priorities for action in order to create a significant impact on the local economy.”

“We want to maximise the benefits of tourism for the people of the Outer Hebrides, by developing a competitive industry, focused on quality and customer service that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable and that builds on its history, culture, environment and hospitality of its people.”

The workshops are being held at the four following island locations:

  • Mon 26th August     10.30/11am - 3.30pm  The Learning Centre, Barra
  • Tues 27th August    10.30/11am - 3.30pm  The Dark Island Hotel, Benbecula
  • Wed 28th August     10.30/11am - 3.30pm  The Harris Hotel, Tarbert, Harris
  • Thurs 29th August   10.30/11am - 3.30pm  The Croft Suite, Caladh Inn, Stornoway, Lewis

The industry includes a wide range of accommodation establishments; visitor attractions; Harris Tweed; retailers; wildlife operators and recreational activities - and everyone is invited.

Ian Fordham of the Outer Hebrides Tourism Industry Association, said: “Last year, we had tremendous support from tourism businesses in the Outer Hebrides who participated in workshops to help us develop the successful destination brand which is now used on our destination website and elsewhere. We are now asking for help from those involved in the tourism industry to help create the new tourism strategy.”

Carron Tobin, said: “This is a golden opportunity for local businesses and operators to help create Tourism Outer Hebrides 2020. No-one knows better than those delivering tourism in the islands today as to what the priorities might be for the future – and what could really make a difference.”

Each island workshop will be highly interactive and fully explore how to turn the Outer Hebrides’ outstanding assets into high quality authentic visitor experiences which will draw more visitors in and encourage them to come back. There is a wealth of research and knowledge at hand but by drawing out important insights from those dealing with tourism and tourists on a daily basis we can develop a shared vision that is owned by the industry - and an action plan that sets out what steps will be taken to ensure it then happens."

Carron Tobin continued: "I am keenly looking forward to meeting local operators at each of the island workshops and getting insights into what needs to happen."

The new tourism strategy for the Outer Hebrides will feed into the National Tourism Strategy for Scotland by maximising the full potential of the islands’ outstanding tourism assets. The goal is to make Scotland a quality destination of ‘first choice’ and Tourism Outer Hebrides 2020 will ensure the islands are a distinct part of this.

To book a place please contact Mairi Thomson from OHTIA or 07786 964971

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