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Argyll and Islands tourism recovery plan secures £350k and creates jobs

Published: 07/07/2021

A three-year project to rebuild the tourism sector across Argyll and the Islands, has secured £350,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and will create new jobs.

The HIE funding will support two key areas of activity; product development and community engagement.

It is from £3m approved by HIE in September 2020 to support strategically important tourism destination management organisations (DMOs), as part of wider support for the sector’s recovery.

The project, by strategically important DMO Argyll and Islands Tourism Co-operative (AITC), will deliver a series of initiatives aimed at inspiring, enabling and delivering destination recovery.

It will encourage collaboration among businesses, communities, public and third sector partners, and will create 6.5 new full-time equivalent posts within the group itself. 

AITC will provide support, advice and signposting to communities looking to improve conditions for visitors. It will also help tourism businesses to make sure they have the skills and knowledge to rebuild their operations, access new markets and embed resilience in their approach.

Morag Goodfellow, HIE’s area manager for Argyll and the Islands, said:

“Tourism is so important to this area, for the local economy and for rural employment. It is also one of the sectors that has been hardest hit by the pandemic. It’s important we do all we can to help the industry recover and that’s what this funding is about.

“AITC provides valuable co-ordinated support for businesses and communities involved in providing visitor services. Our funding is about making sure the group is as effective as possible in rebuilding the sector post-covid.

“We look forward to working with AITC and our tourism businesses to make the project a success.”

Iain Jurgensen, Chair of Argyll and the Isles Tourism Cooperative, said:

“Tourism in Argyll and the Islands had been growing year on year prior to the onset of COVID-19. HIE’s investment will enable AITC to significantly increase our work ‘on the ground’ throughout the area, with communities, businesses and sector groups, working together to get tourism back on its feet and equipped to face the future. We are excited to be leading this project for the area and look forward to continuing our partnership and collaboration with HIE.”