Friday 7 January 2011

Visitscotland Chairman Talks About Ayrshire Tourism

According to The Ayrshire Post, Mike Cantlay, VisitScotland chair has been playing up the opportunities for Ayrshire in a recent visit to the area or interview with the paper and yet again another statistic appears in the press copy.

"Dr Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, insists Ayrshire is a jewel in the nation’s crown. And he believes more can be made of beauty spots like stunning golf courses and the Isle of Arran.

Dr Cantlay said: “People come from around the world to see what Ayrshire has to offer and you should rightly be proud of what you have. But it’s ironically the people of Scotland who don’t know what they have under their own noses."
If you've been reading any of the blog posts on Tourism Matters you'll know that there's a theme rallying against this incessant use of tourism statistics which fill VisitScotland press releases - many of them meaningless and irrelevant to the article published. 
This one's a new one though to us:
“A startling statistic is that 40 per cent of Scots have never had their main holiday in Scotland."
Startling? Only if we're saying that Scots having a main holiday in Scotland is a key target market. The secondary, tertiary or just regular short break market is a much more sell-able product to Scots surely than trying to make main holidays the object of new business development?
The short break UK market has always been the more attractive and trying to convert this to fourteen day trips is surely not a key focus of VisitScotland's strategy? Not sure what the question asked was, what the definition of main holiday was nor what the sample size was but I'm surprised that 60% have taken a "main" holiday in Scotland!

He continued, “There are a lot of reasons to be confident that 2011 will be a good year for tourism – particularly in Ayrshire. The opening of the new Burns Museum is something to be excited about and is obviously something that will attract people from around the world.”
There was however no mention of lost inbound flights through Prestwick Airport and how that will impact on the local hospitality business.

But Dr Cantlay is under no illusions that local authority budget cuts could mean slashed investment for tourism.

The article finished with Dr Cantlay saying, “I have arranged to meet with the three Ayrshire councils so we can discuss how to make the most of tourism in this area."

Therein lies the problem; the meeting is with the public sector not the private, there are three councils and it's yet more discussions. Hmmmmm.


Geoff said...

Tourism and tourist transportation go together and Ayrshire has a fantastic structure to build upon.
Roads and rail could be tweeked to cater more for tourists and if we can change the name of the Ayrshire airport to The Robert Burns International Airport, Prestwick, then we're "on the right track".

Admin said...

Geoff, I think you've been down this track before have you not? Could you possibly post the figures that tell us exactly how changing the name to Robert Burns International Airport Prestwick is going to make the slightest bit of a difference to Ryanair (or any other carrier)'s decision to fly into Prestwick? You clearly have an online campaign going that is trying to build momentum on an issue that simply has no resonance with the current issues and state of tourism in and into Ayrshire. What else is going to transform our hospitality sector? How about renaming the M77 the Alloway Freeway? Or how about Ayr Railway Station? You are absolutely right that transport netwrowks and infrastructure are key and that finding a mathod of increasing "inbound" flights from key target markets is of real importance to Ayrshire (and indeed the rest of Scotland) but banging on about such a narrow single issue really won't help. (In my opinion of course....)