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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 16/03/2023

Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Conference

The tourism industry in Ayrshire & Arran is putting a plan in place, to help secure the future of one of the region’s most important economic drivers. 

Businesses and tourism representatives from across Ayrshire & Arran came together for the Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Conference at the Carlton Hotel Prestwick (Wednesday 15 March). 

The event was hosted by the Ayrshire & Arran Destination Alliance. We supported the event alongside the RAD Hotel Group and Scottish Enterprise.

Pre-pandemic tourism to the area was worth more than £600 million annually and provided 13,000 jobs. In 2019, there were 2.98 million visitor nights in Ayrshire & Arran. When adding day visits that rises to 11.19 million visits in total.

Ayrshire & Arran has an average overall score on Trip Advisor of 4.38 out of 5. Visitors are drawn to the region’s scenery, welcome and great variety of things to do.  

Delegates heard about the ambition to deliver responsible growth, creating jobs, sustaining communities and contributing significantly to the economy.   

Leaders at conference

Strategy partners at the tourism conference with Tourism Minister Ivan McKee. Credit: Ian Rutherford photography.

Ayrshire & Our Islands Visitor Economy

The newly developed Ayrshire & Our Islands Visitor Economy Strategy was unveiled at the conference. At its heart is a significant partnership approach for the region.

We’re supporting the strategy together with the Ayrshire & Arran Destination Alliance, East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire and South Ayrshire Councils and Scottish Enterprise.  

The aims of the strategy are to help to deliver economic recovery following the pandemic but with an emphasis on the natural environment, to benefit visitors’ well-being and aid social regeneration.

Key to the success of the strategy is collaborating across local authority boundaries so residents, businesses and the whole region can benefit from the visitor economy.

There are four regional strategic priorities which align with the national tourism strategy Scotland Outlook 2030 based on great visitor experiences, business growth, our talented people and looking after the environment.

I was delighted to open the Ayrshire and Arran Tourism conference today and help launch the “Ayrshire and our Islands Visitor Economy Strategy”, which is aligned with the aims of Outlook 2030 and the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

The area has a lot to offer both national and international visitors, and is world famous as the land of our national bard Rabbie Burns. The strategy will help boost the attractiveness of the area in a sustainable and forward looking manner.

It is also a great opportunity to recognise the hard work of the Ayrshire and Arran Destination Alliance who have shown what can be achieved when local authorities, public bodies and local businesses and organisations work together in partnership

Ivan McKee MSP, The Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise

This is a significant moment for tourism in the region with a refreshed ‘team Ayrshire’ approach, to build on the shoots of recovery in tourism and events, one of Scotland’s most valuable industries. Our insights tell us that visitors are seeking rest and relaxation and Ayrshire & Arran’s miles of countryside, coastline and islands offer those restorative experiences in abundance.

Together with harnessing the collective ideas, creativity and entrepreneurship across the public, private and third sector partners, we can drive domestic and international tourism.

Malcolm Roughead OBE, VisitScotland CEO and Co-Chair of Ayrshire & Arran Visitor Economy Leadership Group

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