North-east tourism plans get business backing

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A new tourism strategy for Aberdeen City and Shire which aims to drive visitor growth and spend has received the seal of approval from businesses.

Tourism organisations and companies from the North-east of Scotland were asked to examine the proposed strategy, developed by Aberdeen City and Shire Area Tourism Partnership (ATP), and how it can be delivered as part of Scotland’s national strategy at an industry day on Monday last week.

During 2011, the value of visitors staying in the region was worth almost £400million to the local economy from the 1.69million tourists who enjoyed stays of at least one night. Sixty-one percent of those making trips to Aberdeen City and Shire were from Scotland, while 52% of the money spent in the region came from English visitors. The largest markets for the region are from Norway, USA, Germany and the Netherlands.

ACSEF developed its plans by working with tourism businesses in the region in line with the National Tourism Strategy created for Scotland by one of the leading industry tourism organisations, the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA).

From outstanding natural beauty to wildlife and outdoor activities, the area boasts a wide range of assets and the task is to transform these into activities visitors will want to experience.

In developing the strategy, ACSEF was keen to ensure those involved in the industry were engaged throughout the process. A series of workshops had previously taken place with more than 120 key groups as well as interviews with key tourism influencers.

ACSEf chairman Tom Smith said: “A key part of our vision for the future is to make Aberdeen City and Shire an attractive place for tourists to visit and for skilled people to live. In developing our tourism strategy we are working with local businesses and organisations to put in place a plan which will allow us to establish exactly what we want to achieve and know how we will achieve it.

“Tourists can already enjoy a variety of fantastic experiences in the North-east and this is something we are keen to build on. We have come a long way in recent years and we will continue to set our sights high in cementing Aberdeen City and Shire as a world class destination.”

Les Durno, general manager at Cruden Bay Golf Club, commented: “With regard to the golf tourism perspective, Cruden Bay has embraced the opportunity to welcome visiting golfers over many years. The majority of our visitors are from overseas, mostly USA and North America, however these last few years we have seen a significant increase from the Scandinavian countries, Germany and the Far East.

“The club provides caddies as required, snack take away lunches if required and currently has dialogue with the tour operators and many visitors as we have so far resisted to automate our booking system for visitors, looking to create a personal feel to the club.”