Thursday 29 January 2009

Gleneagles Redundancy Plan

Just goes to prove that the crunch is hitting at all levels. The following is reported on the BBC website this afternoon...

"Bosses at the famous Gleneagles Hotel have asked every member of staff to consider redundancy, early retirement or cutting their working hours. Letters sent to employees at the five-star venue also suggested they think about taking extra unpaid leave.

The site reports that the resort employs between 700 and 800 staff at high season.

Read the article

Wednesday 21 January 2009

Burns Stamps Issued

Robert Burns will become the first person outside of the Royal Family to be celebrated with three collections of stamps when a new edition is unveiled this week.

The Royal Mail is to issue the new collection, featuring two stamps with Burns designs and four with a Scottish theme, to mark the 250th anniversary of the poet's birth.

The head of special stamps at Royal Mail said that despite his early death aged 27, Burns' poetry has secured him a place in history and continued that they were delighted to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth with this special commemorative sheet.

The two first class stamps will be published on Thursday, one featuring a portrait of the bard and another bearing the words of one of his most famous songs, A Man's A Man For A' That.

The other four stamps feature a saltire, a thistle, a lion rampant and a tartan cloth. A Robert Burns commemorative £2 coin, produced in association with the Royal Mint, will also be on sale.

The poet was previously celebrated with stamp issues in 1966 and 1996, the latter to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his death.

There are a host of events taking place throughout Scotland to mark the birth under the banner of Homecoming 2009 celebrations 2009.

Ian McCaig organiser of a series of Scottish Golf events has welcomed the publication of the stamp. "We'll buy in sheets of them to make sure that we have enough to send out in all our Homecoming Golf Classics 2009 mailshots! Every little bit helps!"

Sunday Golf Ban To Cost Golf Club?

The headline caught the eye "Sunday golf ban could cost island course £75,000 grant" followed by the problems being outlined relating to The Isle of Harris golf course's application for £75,000 of public money.

Apparently the application may be rejected because the club is closed every Sunday on religious grounds in line with other public facilities on the island and neighbouring Lewis.
It appears that the national sports agency, SportScotland, says giving taxpayers' money to the organisation could contravene equality legislation because of its refusal to open on the Sabbath.

According to The Scotsman, Louise Martin, who chairs the body, said: "SportScotland is mindful of the views and traditions held by many in parts of the Western Isles regarding the opening of sports facilities on Sundays. However, SportScotland also has responsibilities under the 2006 equality legislation to ensure that anything it funds is accessible to all, wherever possible, regardless of gender, race, disability, age, religion or belief …"

Now this may or may not be a real issue rather than one which the journalist sees an angle on but I have not heard any major threats being applied to a rather more famous golf course that closes on Sundays for other traditional reasons. Surely all the golf club need to do is suggest that it needs to close on Sundays in order to rest the course?

This is not about getting into any arguments about religious observance or even the tourism benefits of being open and available for play it is just about recognising that there is perhaps precedence for receiving public funds and not being open seven days a week.

The money sought from sportscotland represents half the £155,000 cost of improvements to drainage, storage and the clubhouse and the other parterns involved Highland and Islands Enterprise and Western Isles Council, the other funders, are not insisting on seven-day opening.
Some common sense surely from SportScotland?

Folio Hotels Buyout

A management buyout will secure more than a hundred jobs in Oban and Ballachulish. after the parent company, Folio Hotels, went in administration in December as a result of financial problems arising from a mix of high rents and costs of a refurbishment programme prior to the start of the economic downturn.

A new company Mulbourn Ltd has taken over the management of The Caledonian, Isles of Glencoe and Ballachulish hotels, and they will continue to trade under the Folio Hotels banner.

Stewart Walker, general manager of The Caledonian Hotel in Oban, told the Oban Times: "It's good news that an agreement has been reached and it is very much business as usual as far as we are concerned. We will be honouring all the bookings that we have in the pipeline."

His colleague, Martin McIlrath, manager of The Ballachulish Hotel, said: "There is no doubt that trading conditions will be tough over the next few months, however, we are certain we are well poised with two excellent hotels in great locations to combat the current downturn in the economy."

Mulbourn Ltd's managing director Matthew Welbourn and finance director Alan Murray, who held similar roles in the previous company, are joined by 13 former senior managers who have taken a stake in the new firm.

Monday 19 January 2009

Scotland's For Me Bloggers Wanted!

With the imnminent relaunch of the all new Scotland's For Me website, the marketing team behind the site, The Edge, are looking for Bloggers from the tourism industry to provide local, area and regional input for the potential visitor to Scotland.
Director Ian McCaig explained further, "Since we first developed the Scotland's For Me website online marketing has moved on considerably and the distribution of information has been transformed with the integration of Web 2.0 tools.
So the new website incorporates a whole host of new initiatives with online booking for accommodation and events, search for rooms by Google Maps, improved picture galleries and video uploads. In addition the site will also include a "Scotland's For You" blog which will give up to date information straight from a bank of local authors - and we thought that we should turn to Scottish Tourism Forum for contributors"
So what is required?
Well, basically just a commitment to write impartially about forthcoming events, items of interest to the visitor, reviews of what's been and gone and general information about the area. Anecdotes, suggestions, visitor comments... as long as it's aimed at the visitor.
If you're interested in contributing information for your area drop a brief note to and he'll get back to you.

Thursday 15 January 2009

Scottish School Holidays

If like us you've always got caught out with dates for events as they suddenly clash with School Holidays, the following link at least may give you an idea of what's ahead for the year. Is it really so difficult to try and dovetail school holidays across Scotland???

School Holidays 2008/09 by Local Authority

School Holidays 2009/10 by Local Authority

Tuesday 13 January 2009

Tourism Responsibility Changes.

A little nugget of information from the Scottish Tourism Forum's weekly digest...

"The Scottish Government announced organisational changes to The Tourism Unit on Friday. The Tourism Unit, including responsibility for Homecoming, will transfer from David Wilson's Enterprise, Energy and Tourism Directorate to Leslie Evans' Europe, External Affairs and Culture Directorate. David's Directorate will be renamed Enterprise and Energy Directorate. The Tourism Unit will join the newly named Promotion of Scotland and Tourism Division headed by Vicky Carlin at Deputy Director level."

Now can anyone advise what it means to tourism?

Saturday 10 January 2009

What does the Nominet Annual Report 2008 mean for your business?

Nominet published it's annual domain name industry report recently and whilst the majority covers domain name statistics and the UK registrar market it does include some interesting research on trust and awareness of UK domain names.

Based on their own research and a survey of 2352 people carried out by Opinion Matters the report makes the following points:
  • the domain suffix is the most trusted in the UK
  • when searching for travel and entertainment information 82% of consumers from Belfast prioritise over .com domains and 79% of consumers from Sheffield prefer domains believing them to be local
  • twice as many women as men regularly use social networking websites
  • 75% of women compared to 66% of men prefer to use websites with a domain
  • over 85% of people know that a domain name is related to a website, email or an online identity
  • the Confederation of British Industry [CBI] supports the use of domains
  • over 50% of businesses see domains as critical or very important
This provides some important guidance for businesses to consider as part of their online strategy. For example, using Social Networking to further your online presence is especially valuable to those businesses with a high proportion of female customers. Those involved in the UK travel and entertainment market should take note that a very high percentage of consumers prefer to use websites on a domain with a suffix. This will be especially important in 2009 when it is expected that the current economic situation in the UK will lead to more people holidaying at home.

For further information about you domain strategy and how these statitics affect your business please contact Chris Dempsey on 01292 521 404 or email

The full Nominet Annual Report 2008 is available at:

Keeping print costs down in the current economic conditions

The current deterioration of the general economic conditions in the UK combined with increased cost of raw materials and the fall in value of Sterling against the US Dollar, Euro and the Yen have forced print costs to rise recently.

For example the cost of some inks went up 13.5% and vinyl 5.5% at the start of 2009 and paper and vinyl costs have been climbing steadily for the past six months or more. Additionaly, fuel surcharge costs applied by several of our suppliers are still in place even though the cost of diesel fell sharply towards the end of 2008.

The Edge are committed to maintaining our highly competitive pricing structure and through careful negotiation and strengthened relationships with local printers will ensure that any increse in costs are passed to our clients only where this absolutely cannot be avoided.

For further information on the Print and Design services offered by The Edge please contact Steven Timpson by telephone 01292 521 404 or email