Interesting press release from Highlands and Islands Enterprise advising that Moray Tourism Development Group's plans to take forward a unique vision for the area are being supported with a two year £120,000 cash injection from HIE and Moray Council.
The funding will give the group the resources to work towards their vision to see Moray - internationally renowned as the "home of malt whisky " combining a rich, traditional heritage with modernity and innovation to deliver unique, high value, lifestyle experiences in a destination with a strong sense of place.
The Moray Tourism Development Group is a steering group bringing together the private sector, HIE (Moray), Moray Council, Visit Scotland and Historic Scotland.
Interim chair Jim Royan commented: "We feel very lucky to be able to draw on the experience of the private sector and to have been given this funding support from the public sector to allow us to take practical steps to make this vision a reality for Moray."
Steven Hutcheon of HIE is delighted that the enterprise agency has been able to help put a mechanism in place to assist Moray in its efforts to increase visitor numbers.
"The Tourism Development Group identified that by all coming together they could develop project ideas and seek out sources of funding. It is a vital next step in creating what we hope will be a sustainable force which will benefit the tourism sector in Moray, said Steven. "Moray has so much to offer visitors; our unique place as the home of whisky, the opportunities in outdoor activities including fishing, golf, walking and cycling, our scenery and wildlife and access to the Cairngorms National Park. There must be few destinations in the world with such a strong range of globally renowned brands all sharing the same values, landscape, geography, heritage, environment and all deeply rooted in the community. The development of this group which has taken on the role of tourism ambassador, and promoting and developing the region will add huge value in putting Moray firmly on the tourist map."
Marion Walker, of Marion Walker Marketing, will be working in partnership with Rene Looper, of Tuminds, supporting the Moray Tourism Development Group by driving change and leading the industry in realising their vision. This will be achieved through the delivery of realistic and achievable plans for the management, development and growth of tourism.
The rest of the industry in Scotland will be curious to see the outcomes of the group and how they will differ in implementation from all of the regional groups that have come and gone before them.
It sounds like a DMO but there is conspicuously no mention of the terms destination management organisation in there. If the group can indeed achieve the partnership that tourism and hospitality requires without the constraints sround the current crop of DMO's then it will have the opportunity to succeed.
We can be certain that with Rene onboard we'll be kept informed!