Our Chair, Ann-Marie Black, brings us an update on ATC activities over the past couple of months.
The ATC were represented at VisitScotland Expo on the 11th and 12th of April, where we took a pod and exhibited. Expo is Scotland’s premier travel trade event that gives businesses the perfect opportunity to network with buyers and showcase their products. The whole experience was very positive and presented us with real opportunities to bring new tourists to Angus. The buyers who visited our pod have access to tourists looking for new areas to visit and looking for fresh things to do. These tourists have money to spend and are keen to spend that money on their holidays. We are keen to encourage them in to Angus so they can spend that money in our County and experience our unique and diverse offering.
Through our appointments with these buyers at Expo we were able to glean information on what exactly they are looking for. Going forward we will now work to put together bespoke and individual itineraries for each of the buyers, based on their requirements and we welcome your help with that. A lot of the information we needed for this task was taken away from the leaflet exchange at Glamis Castle. Our Secretary sent out a news bulletin detailing the specifics through social media, email and our website; so please get in touch with any offering that you may have.
We did have a few unique requests with one buyer asking for a holistic holiday, another buyer asking for knitting and craft themed holidays and a third buyer asking for a ‘sustainable’ holiday. Perhaps some of these could be combined and perhaps some of us are already doing this kind of thing. If any of you can help with either or any of these requirements please do get in touch with us.
Angus Leader Project
LEADER is a European funded rural development programme which aims to improve the quality of life and prosperity in rural communities through locally driven initiatives and projects. With a £2 million allocation for projects to be delivered in rural Angus, the window for accessing this funding is closing because of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Now, at our last member event at the Links Hotel in Montrose back in February, we mentioned that the ATC had been encouraged to submit an application and we are currently working towards being involved, along with Murton Trust and Flourish9, in a transnational leader project with areas in Belgium and Romania. The project will focus on community led tourism development and creating a ‘flourishing destination’. Through the project we hope to deliver
- An opportunity for individuals to participate in learning exchanges in the other countries
- A series of tourism focused community engagement workshops
- A clash calendar of local events and activities
- A pilot project in Kirriemuir and Brechin to offer improved toilet facilities and to provide suitable tourist information points. The project will also see the development of a number of courses relating to traditional rural and craft skills, as well as working with businesses to promote our local food and drink offering.
We have very nearly completed our Leader application and I will provide you with a further update at our next event. The proposed project would run over two years beginning in October 2018. if our application is successful I hope many of our members will become involved with this exciting endeavour.
Going back to the last members event; one of the activities entailed a series of table stations, each with a different topic, and attendees visited each station to participate for 10 minutes before moving on to the next station. One of the topics focused on creating ‘sub groups’ within the ATC membership. From that list we have now selected 5 sub group to focus our attention. Other areas of interest have been noted and can be developed in the future. The five areas identified for action now are
- Food and drink production and promotion
- Angus Events
- Activity and itinerary development
- Travel trade interface
- ATC communication, planning and development
We would like to invite interested parties to come forward to help influence the development in these areas and to drive on the action points in each sub group. An information sheet regarding sub groups was available to take away at Glamis, but if you weren’t there on the night and if you are interested in being part of one or more sub groups then please email email@example.com. The ATC’s actions are driven by the needs and desires of the members and your involvement and participation are key to the success of the cooperative.
In concluding, the thought I would like to leave you with is that We are the Angus tourism cooperative, we are working together to extend and enhance the visitor experience and I hope that, although our group is relatively young, our actions so far have demonstrated our commitment to these core aims.