Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Scottish Tourism Forum or Alliance? Anyone Know?

Ok, so I have to start this email with the statement that I was on holiday for the first part of Scottish Tourism Week and Man Flu prevented me taking my place at yesterday's Winning Year's conference in Perth so I may have missed some major announcements along the way.

But on the other hand I have just done a Google search for Scottish Tourism Week news and Winning Year's Conference and a similar search through the sites of Scottish Tourism Forum and VisitScotland.org (oh by the way did you notice they've started blogging? March 13th 2012 - cutting edge as ever!) to no avail.

Apparently, according the job specification, the Scottish Tourism Forum is now The Scottish Tourism Alliance and is searching for a Chief Executive at a salary of £60,000 per annum. Was this announced at last week's events? Or am I well out of date on this position?

But wait a minute in my mail received last week there's a message from Chair Stephen Leckie urging me to part with my subscription fees for membership renewal of The Scottish Tourism Forum for 2012/13. Not a great deal of money it has to be stated but it is a bit like buying a season ticket for Rangers. You really want to know who's ground your going to be sitting in before parting with the cash!

There is no mention of the "The Scottish Tourism Alliance formerly known as STForum" in asking me for my membership subscriptions. Surely a wee indication along the way may have been appropriate.

In all seriousness though, why are membership subs being asked for an organisation that on it's own website is already being referred to in the past tense. The public side of the sector are continuously criticised for their ineffective communications, it does not reflect well on the private sector representative body

The job description mentions the successful candidate "Reporting to a private sector board and council". Is this going to be the same board as is currently in place or is it going to be a new board for a new organisation? I genuinely have no idea. So how can I possibly be in a position to pay subs for something that is not yet fully formed.

I have previously raised the point directly with the organisation that there is a strange essence of the "same-old, same-old" about the strategic approach and even of some of those around the table. The new "alliance" may be about to tap into the diversity and dynamism of the many small businesses surviving even prospering during these times; they sure as hell need to.

But I can't find out how they're planning to do it anywhere. The Scottish Tourism Manifesto 2011 published before last year's elections outlined the strategic areas that the board of the Scottish Tourism Forum had in focus and I understand that presentations made at the AGM outlined the potential mechanisms for change. Communicating changes to a quorate AGM does not equate to communicating with the membership.

I'm afraid my membership fees will remain in abeyance until more clarity is delivered.


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