Development agents appointed just weeks ago to help raise Argyll and the Isles’ capability in the tourism sector have hit the ground running.
In September, Argyll and the Isles Tourism Co-operative (AITC) appointed seven individuals to work with local marketing groups and tourist associations on its behalf in a bid to strengthen the region as a tourism hot-spot.
At their recent board meeting, the AITC directors heard how all the agents - who are employed on a freelance basis - had made a positive start having held initial meetings with key partners and contacts in most areas, and progressing priority tasks.
Among the activities undertaken to date are supporting the groups to: review current structures, systems and governance in some areas, review existing membership, investigate alternative local association models, propose new events, consider new websites and/or improvements to existing ones and explore specific local tourism issues.
The agents came together on Friday (December 5), to brief AITC on their progress to date and brainstorm on how best to grow tourism capacity, support the local groups, devise effective new action plans and tackle priority projects at a local level.
AITC chair Gavin Dick said he was very pleased with how the new recruits had taken to their task.
“We brought the development agents in specifically to work with local marketing and tourism groups across the region, and we were very fortunate to be able to appoint people who not only are familiar with the geographical area they are covering but also are passionate about growing them” he added.
“Of course these are still early days, but I’m very encouraged by the work they have done so far and their commitment to improving both the structure and membership of our local associations as well as the support available to them.
“The next few years are absolutely critical to Argyll and the Isles being justifiably recognised as one of the UK’s most glittering tourism jewels and I believe we’re taking big strides in that respect.
“The development agents provide a vital link between AITC and local associations, and the AITC directors look forward to monitoring their progress over the next few months as we continue to work together to ensure the area has a bumper 2015 tourist season.”
Kerrien Grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “We are delighted to be supporting AITC to build upon the strong tourism offering in Argyll and the Islands. The development agents are providing opportunities for all organisations involved to share good practice, and provide a collective voice for tourism businesses and social enterprises. We are very pleased with the range of skills and experience that the development agents have, and look forward to seeing their work improve the structure and systems that will enable AITC to continue to go from strength to strength.