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New brand set to boost islands’ economy

27 September 2012

Issued by the Outer Hebrides Tourism Industry Association

Island communities in the Outer Hebrides are set for an economic boost as a new brand encourages visitors from across the world to come and experience a unique and diverse island journey.

The Outer Hebrides' brand will position the interconnected island chain as a top global destination option which offers exciting opportunities for island hopping holidays. It highlights the unique and diverse appeal of the islands' culture, heritage, wildlife and way of life, appealing to both traditional and emerging tourist markets.

The strapline Outer Hebrides: Experience Life on the Edge sums up how the unique and rich diversity of the Outer Hebrides' environment and culture combine to offer an enlightening, enriching and engaging visitor experience.

Nick Needham of creative agency Bright 3D said: "Creating an identity for a destination like the Outer Hebrides is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and one that comes with an sense of responsibility to the people who live, work and holiday there.

"With such diversity across the islands, one of the biggest challenges was to create a brand identity that would reflect the overall destination, yet give individual islands the chance to express their own personality.

"We ran a series of workshops on the islands to discover what the Outer Hebrides meant to people and to find the common themes linking them together. These themes of communities, landscapes, journeys, senses and contrasts are core to the proposition and are brought to life through a series of graphic wordals.

"The Brand marque is simple and timeless, and the juxtaposition of graphic and text reinforces the strap line 'Experience life on the Edge'."

The brand launch is part of a £150,000 tourism initiative spearheaded by The Outer Hebrides Tourism Industry Association (OHTIA) with support from LEADER, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES), Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

Together with the launch of a dedicated destination website later in the year, the initiative aims to increase visitor numbers to the Outer Hebrides (currently 200,000 visitors per annum), boost the islands' economy and bring wide-ranging benefits to the wider community.

Chair of OHTIA, Ian Fordham explained: "The Outer Hebrides offer visitors a unique and enriching experience and we felt it was important that this was represented with a strong, vibrant and recognisable brand that encompassed all the individual islands.

"The brand builds on the growing desire for industry lead action and acts as a catalyst for the creation of a unified approach to destination marketing, with the aim of increasing visitor numbers and boosting the local economy.

"The new brand will not only bring together those working within the tourism industry throughout the islands, but it will also help position the islands' unique identity in the minds of current and potential visitors. We hope that when they visit they will be encouraged to stay longer, spend more and make many return visits to the islands."

Mairi Buchanan of Highlands and Island Enterprise said: "Tourism plays a significant role in attracting thousands of visitors to the Outer Hebrides every year. The Outer Hebrides are a diverse chain of islands with their own Gaelic way of life, vibrant activity, food and drink, music, art and crafts. The tourism sector is vital to the most fragile areas and this brand initiative aims to grow and achieve the aspirations of the industry in order to increase visitor numbers to boost the local economy."

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