Our members came together at Murton Farm Tea Room on the 14th of October to hear from the Board about the Cooperatives’ actions over the past year and to engage in a workshop to help prioritise some actions for the future.
An informal and friendly sign-in with Board member Louise Nicoll of Newton Farm Holidays was followed by a formal welcome from the Chair, Ann-Marie Black from Blacks Coaches. The attendees were then given an informative presentation, featuring the ATC’s work over the last 12 months, by Board members, Alison Elliott from Murton Farm Trust and Stuart Clark of Balmuirfield House B&B. The activity reported was broken down to highlight the connection with several key themes that are important to building momentum within the Cooperative.
- Industry Leadership
- Enabling Networking and Peer Support
- Collaboration and Engagement
- Inspiring Innovation and Business Growth
By providing Industry Leadership the ATC have taken the initiative in bringing the Angus Leader Project ‘Flourishing Destinations’ from inception to delivery over the last 18 months and much of the efforts from the Board and many of the members have come through interaction with the project.
The very existence of the Cooperative allows local and Government authorities a contact point to discuss and consult on many issues that affect the tourism sector in Angus. The Board have been able to provide a voice for its members at meetings and discussions varying from the Tay Cities Regional Tourism Leadership Group and the cultural initiative Place Partnership to engaging with the department of the Young Workforce and taking part in the debate on Tourism Tax at a national level.
An important function of the ATC is it allows us to bring the membership together in ways that are Enabling Networking and Peer Support. Again, through engagement within Flourishing Destinations, members of the ATC, local residents and visitors have attended Community engagement workshops, training courses, talks and social gatherings at various locations throughout the county. Whether it was trying their hand at rural skills at Murton, picking apples and tasting freshly squeezed juice at Apple Ever After or speaking their mind and giving their opinions in tourism surveys in Kirriemuir and Brechin; the opportunity to take part and create Collaboration and Engagement has been a recurrent theme for the ATC.
What better example of this at work than Dog Friendly Angus and Dundee. What started out as local businesses wanting to assist their customers to find out where they could go with the dogs when visiting, has turned into a truly community wide effort with people throughout Angus and beyond with no connection to tourism helping to promote and improve a visit to Angus for tourists and locals alike.
The ATC will always aim to have a focus on helping local businesses through collaboration and key to driving momentum with the hope of bringing about Inspiring innovation and Business Growth. Fostering the belief that tourism is ‘a’body’s business and using Angus’ strong narrative we can help shine a light on tourism development in Angus.
Guest Speaker, Kim Cameron from the Gin Bothy and the Bothy Experience talked about the importance of the story we tell from Angus. For her business the strength of the brand has been an incredibly solid foundation on which to move positively to a prosperous future. Drawing on the stories of the land and culture and threading them through the story of her product has been a great example of putting pride in place into a business that has claimed its identity and will continue to thrive.
Well by now our members all know how we love a wee workshop; so it was over to Board member, Scott Byrne from Hospitalfield House, to detail some of the work the Board have undertaken as part of an organisation review before we asked the members what they thought were the opportunities we could bring focus to over the next year.
Following a short comfort break we began the official business of the AGM. After the formalities of reports were given, the existing Board was bolstered by the appointment of 5 new Directors. An invitation was sent out to all members to become a join the board and letters of introduction for each proposed candidate were read out before the applicants were seconded. Joining the Board will be Kelly-Ann Dempsey from the South Esk Catchment Project, Martin beard from Park Hill Rare Breeds Farm, Helen Buchanan from Glamis Castle, Norma Lyall from Flourish 9 and Caroline Millar from the Hideaway Experience. All five members bring great knowledge and experience from a variety of business sectors as well as that of tourism and we look forward to great contribution we’re sure they’ll make.
The AGM was brought to a close and members were informed of several upcoming events in Angus throughout the next couple of months. Members were encouraged to attend the next Flourishing Destinations Community engagement event on the 27th of November at Letham Hall.