As Scotland moves through the Government’s route map out of the COVID-19 crisis, the tourism industry is planning how to rebuild in a responsible way. At the heart of this, many destination organisations are working with communities in order to inform an appropriate approach, sympathetic to the views of local people.
The visitor economy sustains communities the length and breadth of the country, providing jobs and enhancing wellbeing. However, as we emerge from lockdown, there are naturally concerns about what too rapid an increase in visitor numbers might mean for public health, so a number of groups are looking to find a balanced and responsible approach which takes the views of communities into account.
In Perthshire, Dunkeld & Birnam Tourism Association is the local tourism association, a network of businesses who provide facilities and activities for visitors to the area. In conjunction with the local business group, and the Community Council, they have produced clear advice for visitors asking them to do their bit to help protect everyone.
Importantly the advice is phrased in a way which encourages visitors to help keep the community which they love visiting safe, rather than just repeating generic advice. The published advice makes Government guidelines clear to prospective visitors and outlines what visitors can do to help protect themselves and the local community against the threat of COVID-19.
This includes advising people to observe social distancing and reminding them of their responsibility to adopt proper hygiene practices. It also features more specific localised guidance; one case being discouraging the use of disposable barbeques due to fire-related issues in the area. Keeping the advice up to date is key, and it is updated after each significant Government announcement.
As well as clearly outlining the current rules and guidance, the Association has emphasised to prospective visitors that they are looking forward to welcoming people back when it is safe to do so. With coronavirus having had a huge impact on the visitor economy, messages have been sensitive to ensure the visitors of the future are not dissuaded from visiting in future when the time is right.
With an eye toward the coming months, the Association has contacted all their business members to ascertain their temporary opening arrangements and the special COVID precautions that they will adopt – which will vary from business to business. News about this will be covered on the Association’s website so visitors can be aware of what is open before they choose to come and visit.