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Orkney tourism recovery plan secures £300k

Published: 18/03/2021

A three-year project to restore confidence and resilience in Orkney’s tourism sector, has secured £300,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Knap Of Howar Papay
Pic: Knap of Howar, credit Rebecca Marr/HIE

A three-year project to restore confidence and resilience in Orkney’s tourism sector, has secured £300,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The £390,000 project, by destination management organisation Destination Orkney Limited (DOL) will deliver a series of initiatives aimed at inspiring, enabling and delivering destination recovery.

The HIE funding will ensure that DOL is sufficiently resourced to play a vital role in the recovery of tourism across Orkney and two new jobs will be created at the organisation.

As part of the project, DOL will provide support, advice and signposting to communities looking to improve their visitor offering. It will work with existing groups and businesses and help to establish new ones where there are opportunities. DOL’s membership stands at around 300 businesses.

HIE recognises the important role played by destination management organisations (DMOs), their extensive reach into local businesses and communities and their influence on a sustainable green tourism recovery alongside responsible visitor management.

This project will provide support and empower communities to take ownership of local tourism developments and infrastructure projects, equip tourism businesses with the skills to rebuild their businesses, access new markets. DOL will work collaboratively with Orkney’s food and drink producers and creative industries and will support events to deliver maximum benefits for communities and visitors.

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.

Ruth Kirkpatrick, HIE’s head of business growth in Orkney, said:

“Tourism is central to the local economy in Orkney and a vital source of employment throughout the islands. Destination Orkney Limited 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 DOL, other partners and our tourism businesses to achieve a successful and sustainable recovery for the sector in Orkney.”

Dianne Riley-Moore, Chair of Destination Orkney, said:

“The three years of funding will give us the security Destination Orkney needs to play our part in planning the recovery of the economy and the development of a sustainable and vibrant Orkney 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 so we are better placed to support their needs and share their views and Destination Orkney can work on projects with our partners and other Orkney groups. We have also been able to offer free membership of Destination Orkney to any business or individual who interacts with the tourism market.”

Orkney Islands Council and DOL are also investing in the project.

Chair of the OIC Development and Infrastructure Committee Councillor Graham Sinclair said: “I very much welcome the HIE funding package, which adds to the commitment from Orkney Islands Council through an economic development grant, which will assist in Orkney’s tourism recovery plan."

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