LISTEN: David Smythe explains what the industry’s next steps are in recovery
After a year without international travel the tourists it brings with it, Highland Perthshire’s tourism industry is banding together to plan a sustainable future post COVID.
Visit Scotland, the Perth & Kinross Council and the Perthshire Tourism Partnership spent months of this year meeting to figure out how they can work together to help the industry recover.
David Smythe, chair of the Perthshire Tourism Partnership, explained: “Putting our plan together, we were very keen it didn’t come together from just Visit Scotland or the council or the agencies, we really wanted businesses to be involved.
“So, we had a big meeting back in, gosh, I think it was September 2019 for many tourism businesses at Birnam, and from that various tourism leaders came forward and we formed a group. And we worked on ideas over the winter of 2019, into 2020, in facilitated sessions.
“This plan, if you like, is guided by Perth and Kinross and existing strategies, but it is very much guided by tourism leaders.”
Now the plan is looking to set Perth and Kinross as one of the leading areas in Scotland for tourism and sustainable business.
The plan can be broken down into four key aims:
- restoring the value of tourism to pre-COVID-19 levels, with a particular focus on extending the season for year-round visits.
- establishing Perthshire as a leading responsible tourism destination by encouraging responsible business practices, low impact activities and community-supported developments.
- ensuring that the impact and benefits of tourism are felt across Perthshire’s communities with a bottom-up approach through the network of local tourism associations and sector groups.
- making sure that Perthshire is a ‘digitally discoverable’ destination, in other words that it’s visible as a responsible place to visit online.
Highland Ward councillor, John Duff, said: “Perth and Kinross has always been high up on the list of Scottish tourism destinations. Its beautiful scenery, attractive towns and villages and popular outdoor activities, as well as its independent city businesses and extensive cultural attractions, make it a great place for visitors to discover what Scotland has to offer.
“I welcome the Perthshire Tourism Action Plan which will help to deliver a strong and resilient year-round tourist economy and establish the area as a leading Scottish sustainable destination.”
Visit Scotland are also hosting a series of webinars on the future of tourism which can be found on: https://www.visitscotland.org/news/2021/perthshire-talks-tourism