According to an on-line tourism business barometer conducted by Aviemore and the Cairngorms Destination Management Ltd looking at the current situation and business confidence in the area's most important industry "Badenoch and Strathspey is bucking the national picture of doom and gloom caused by the credit crunch and soaring petrol and energy prices."
The results point to a feeling that summer business levels should hold despite reports elsewhere in the UK of a slump in visitor numbers. Local businesses are much more cautious what the next 12 months has in store for them, however.
Mr Alan Rankin, boss of ACDM Ltd, said: "Businesses predict that they will see a slight increase in customers this summer and a slightly greater increase in turn-over indicating that we may see consumers spending that little bit more when in the area." He said that room occupancy levels was a good measure of the health of local tourism. For April to June, this year, 45 per cent of accommodation providers reported occupancy levels between 30 per cent and 50 per cent.
"Indications are that this is holding with levels perhaps higher than would have been expected when considering all the doom and gloom reported nationally in recent weeks," said Mr Rankin.
"Concerns over general tourism trends have increased by some 17 per cent amongst local businesses since the last quarterly survey. The much greater uncertainty about prospects for the coming years is understandable, given the difficulties in the wider economy and the squeeze on family budgets. Much needs to be done to set the economy on the right track.
Mr Rankin is hopeful that local tourism businesses can weather the storm. He said: "Consumer trends all point towards more activity orientated environmentally responsible leisure breaks taken nearer to home. The area is well placed to make the most of this change but to do so we need to up our game, invest in and support quality products and service along with co-ordinated marketing and promotion."
The full article is available from The Badenoch and Strathspey Herald