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Article published 28/03/2023

Focusing on growth and sustainability

A refreshed strategy to boost sustainable tourism was unveiled alongside a new destination website at this year’s Argyll & the Isles Strategic Tourism Partnership Summit in Dunoon on 22 March.

Over 100 representatives from Argyll’s tourism sector attended the event and heard from TV and social media sensation The Hebridean Baker, who shared the secrets to his success and how this has helped to support his island economy.

The event was jointly hosted by the Argyll and Isles Tourism Cooperative, Argyll and Bute Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and VisitScotland (who form The Argyll & Isles Strategic Tourism Partnership).

The Summit set out to inform and inspire tourism business owners, bring them together to foster networking and explore the role everyone plays in driving a sustainable post-pandemic recovery of the region’s tourism economy.

Regional Visitor Economy Recovery and Growth Strategy

The Argyll & Isles Strategic Tourism Partnership developed the area’s refreshed Visitor Economy Recovery and Growth Strategy. It reflects local tourism challenges and opportunities and how the destination could play a key role in national tourism ambitions. It also outlines partners’ commitment to, and their investment in, the region.

Other topics explored at the event included:

  • how the University of the Highlands and Islands is adapting to meet the skills needs of local Argyll based businesses
  • how green practices can drive greater business efficiencies
  • the important role innovation can play in supporting a sustainable tourism economy

Championing local produce

Local produce was also a key theme of the Summit, with lunch provided by Dunoon’s Blairmore Cafe and a keynote speech by The Hebridean Baker, Coinneach MacLeod.

One of Scotland’s best-selling cookbook authors, Coinneach shared insight on how his baking obsession infused with Hebridean culture engaged global audiences and transformed his life while providing a boost to Hebridean tourism.

More than 25 million people across the world have now watched his videos online.

While undoubtedly our tourism businesses are facing significant challenges in the current climate, we also recognise how well our destination is placed to leverage the current visitor demand for authentic, sustainable and quality experiences.

With its stunning natural heritage, extensive coastline, magical islands and abundant fauna and flora – to mention just some of our region’s attributes – Argyll and the Isles is deservedly one of Scotland’s leading tourism destinations. And its vibrant tourism industry is making huge strides to lead the way in sustainable tourism excellence.

Cathy Craig, CEO of the Argyll and Isles Tourism Cooperative (AITC)

I’m really pleased to meet with colleagues from across the region in person once again. Tourism is worth around £95 million annually to the Argyll and Isles economy, bringing jobs and investment that make a significant contribution to the wider impact of tourism in Scotland.

The focus of our refreshed Strategy for Argyll and the Isles is supporting the post-pandemic recovery of tourism which aligns with the national tourism strategy, Outlook 2030.

David Adams McGilp, Regional Director, Industry & Destination Development at VisitScotland

Find out more

The Summit was free to direct members of the Argyll and Isles Tourism Cooperative, but open to all tourism businesses and suppliers in the Argyll & Bute local authority region. Calmac provided free ferry travel to island-based businesses.

To find out more about the AITC visit their website. 

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