The £650,000 project, by destination management organisation (DMO) Cairngorm Business Partnership (CBP) will deliver a series of initiatives aimed at inspiring, enabling and delivering destination recovery.
The HIE funding will ensure that CBP is sufficiently resourced to play a vital role in the recovery of tourism across the Cairngorms and two new jobs will be created at the organisation.
Tourism is vital to the Cairngorms National Park, accounting for 30 percent of the economy (GVA), 43 percent of employment and an estimated 2m visitors annually.
As part of the project, CBP will provide support, advice and signposting to communities looking to improve their visitor offering. It will work with partners such as Cairngorms National Park Authority, neighbouring DMOs and businesses and help establish new visitor offerings where there are opportunities. CBP’s membership currently stands at 400 members.
The benefits of CBP and the activity it delivers reaches beyond tourism as it is also a chamber of commerce and its member businesses includes a wide variety of economic sectors such as manufacturing, food and drink, technology and heritage sectors. It also brings benefits to a much wider range of enterprises in the Park beyond its immediate membership.
The project will provide support and empower communities, which are an essential part of the visitor experience. It will enable communities to take ownership of local tourism developments and infrastructure projects, equip tourism businesses with the skills to rebuild their businesses and access new markets including through the travel trade.
New roles at CBP will focus on building and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders to improve existing and create new sustainable visitor products. It will also create and promote a one-stop-shop for event organisers in the National Park, while continuing to support businesses and communities to deliver outstanding visitor experiences.
HIE recognises the important role played by DMOs, their extensive reach into local businesses and communities and their influence on a sustainable green tourism recovery alongside responsible visitor management.
The HIE funding is from £3m approved by the agency in September 2020 to support strategically important tourism DMOs over the next three years, as part of wider support for the tourism sector’s recovery.
James Gibbs, Area Manager of HIE’s Inner Moray Firth team, which covers the most populous area of the Park, Badenoch and Strathspey, said:
“Tourism is central to the local economy in the Cairngorms National Park area and is a vital source of employment. Cairngorms Business Partnership provides valuable co-ordinated support, tailored to the specific needs of tourism operators in the area.
We need to make sure the group has sufficient resources to be as effective as possible and we look forward to working with CBP, other partners and our tourism businesses to achieve a successful and sustainable recovery for the sector in that region.”
Mark Tate, CEO of CBP, said:
“The three years of funding will give us the security we need to play our part in planning the recovery of the economy and further develop a sustainable and vibrant Cairngorms tourism sector. We are delighted that we can offer two new jobs to take the work forward.
“The extra resources also mean we can consult more with members and communities to develop existing and new products that deliver outstanding visitor experiences in a way that is sustainable for our communities and our environment.”