Hosting international events such as the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup in 2014 put Scotland firmly in the global spotlight as a top visitor destination. With such opportunity, many businesses are considering how to best take advantage of this new-found fame.
Carron Tobin, development manager of Argyll and the Isles Tourism Co-operative (ATIC), explains why being part of a consortium is helping many of Scotland’s west coast tourism businesses capitalise on the country’s time in the limelight.
Last year was an unprecedented one for Scotland, with sport, politics, the Homecoming gathering and historical anniversaries giving the country international attention like never before.
Not only did it cement our reputation as a land of spectacular scenery and a friendly welcome, it established Scotland as a vibrant and contemporary tourism destination that has the capacity to wow as much as it does charm.
This offers a tremendous opportunity for tourism businesses – and when it comes to having a competitive advantage, we believe being part of our co-operative consortium really helps us stand out from the crowd.
When we formed in 2012, businesses of varying sizes across the area pooled finances, contacts and industry knowledge to create an umbrella brand and marketing plan to set Argyll and the Isles apart from the rest of Scotland and the UK as an unmissable tourist destination.
By offering a range of attractive products that tour operators can sell to their customers, we have enjoyed real success, reaching more markets and potential customers than we would ever have managed individually.
This year though – more than ever – we can see the true value of being part of our co-operative as we prepare to launch our most ambitious bid yet to attract more tour operators to our area and our businesses.
For the first time, we will exhibit at three major international trade shows in a single year, supplementing our usual stand at VisitScotland’s EXPO in April, with trips to the Best of Britain & Ireland and Explore GB trade shows.
Argyll and the Isles Tourism Co-operative’s board. From left, Carron Tobin, David Currie, Calum Ross, Niall Macalister Hall, chairman Gavin Dick, Iain Jurgensen, Andrew Wilson, Brian Keating and Fiona McPhail.
These events are vital to engage with tour operators across the world and have potential to attract thousands of new customers for our businesses, taking advantage of Scotland’s incredible 2014.
Quite simply, we couldn’t have done this as individual companies or local marketing groups. By working together, we have given our region a genuine competitive edge and delivered a significant boost to members’ trade – underlining just how effective being part of a consortium co-operative can be.