Thursday, 25 March 2010

Tories Call For Increase in Support in Perthshire

According to a press release Tory MSP Murdo Fraser has called on VisitScotland and the SNP Government do more to promote Perthshire.

Mr Fraser said Tourism was Scotland’s biggest industry, certainly in the Mid Scotland and Fife Region which he represents, “In Perthshire, tourism is by far the largest employer and if we are to see a strong economy in rural areas then we do have to ensure growth in tourism,” 

“Unfortunately, the changes to VisitScotland and centralising the organisation have created an organisation which is less accountable to the tourism industry in Perthshire and local tourism operators cannot put their case on how best to market the area. The voices of local tourism operators must be heard at the top of the industry in order for local needs to be met and local opportunities to be developed.It is important that we have the appropriate infrastructure in place in Perthshire for our tourism industry. VisitScotland and the other SNP Government agencies must do more for tourism promotion in Perthshire.”

This follows on our "rant" the other day on how we rued the fragmentation of Scottish Tourism on which we got some robust feedback!

The central theme to our argument is not that government needs to invest more but needs to ensure somehow that the expenditure is efficient and effective and not simply duplicated as it currently is. I recall many years ago that one of the main measures on whether public sector spending was whether it caused dispalcement, that is did it just move jobs or activity or revenues around Scotland rather than adding new economic benefits. The same strict rule should be applied immediately to public sector expenditure relating to tourism and hospitality.

The role of the public sector in tourism for sure needs clarification; VisitScotland is not there to micro manage tourism destinations at a local level but it must give clear structures, guidance and means of communicating.

The private sector has to understand that a national tourism body may be able to fulfill the role of raising awareness and interest and perhaps even the desire but it's very much down to the private business to convert the potential visitor into action.

It sounds boring but without a robust organisational structure this simply CANNOT take place. It is in the hands of the Scottish Governement to facilitiate; no-one else can.
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