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Tourism Matters

Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms is the official business organisation for tourism in the areas of Royal Deeside, Donside and the Eastern Cairngorms. We promote the area as a year-round destination and provide visitors with high quality experiences that will encourage them to return. Working with local businesses we want to develop the area’s tourism product in ways that generate benefits for all. As a not-for-profit organisation we are actively seeking ways of promoting the area through professional collaboration, business leadership and community participation. We intend to run a regular column to highlight tourism news, views and features, the first of which you are now reading. Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms is seen by many as Scotland’s crowning glory. As we know the area is home to many rare wildlife and plant species – capercaillie, red squirrels, roe deer, golden eagles and more! The iconic River Dee flowing from its source high up in the Cairngorm Mountains passes through 85 miles of some of the world’s most stunning scenery until it finally reaches the sea at Aberdeen. With several towns and villages including Banchory, Aboyne, Ballater and Braemar offering accommodation and outdoor activities, walking, fishing, mountain biking, skiing, running and traditional highland games and festivals, you can understand why the area should attract visitors from around the world. The combination of rich history, culture, scenery, landmarks, beauty spots and attractions combine to offer the visitor plenty to see and do.


Living and working in this very special area we are all aware that tourism is a very important sector to the local economy and the wider community. With many local businesses directly or indirectly involved, it is easy to see why there is a need to promote the brand and raise awareness of the area as a key tourism destination. Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms is an organisation which aims to do just that. Formed a little over 6 years ago we have carried out many marketing activities and projects over this time, including the Deeside Music Sessions, several food & drink projects such as Venison Festivals, Tanalonga and Dine on Deeside to name but a few. These projects along several others have helped raise the profile and promote the area and have been supported by public funding in addition to the private funding generated through its partnership fees. This year saw the launch of an enhanced Victorian Heritage Trail, which coincided with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Year of Creative Scotland 2012. Many local tourism businesses were involved in the project and featured in the various PR campaigns, articles and publicity. Now is the time to plan for the year ahead and we aim to continue to work with the local tourism community to help structure future projects for the benefit of all the area. As a partnership organisation we currently have over 80 local businesses and run training courses as well as a number of business to business meetings. These informal evenings are a great opportunity to network as well as hearing about future activities, promotions and projects. At the most recent event over 50 businesses explored possible promotional opportunities during 2013 “The Year of Natural Scotland”. Grant funding for the Visit Scotland Natural Scotland Growth Fund will open soon and will support inspiring marketing projects which showcase Scotland’s unique natural environment and support the growth of tourism spend here in Royal Deeside. Lots of very interesting ideas came forward – so watch this space as Tourism Matters.!

www. discoverroyaldeeside.com The leading business organisation for tourism in Royal Deeside & the Cairngorms


Spotlight on Tourism Tourism includes lots of different of businesses, probably far more than you imagine. This new regular “mini interview with” – helps highlight the variety and diversity of them - This week we focus on a couple of the many activity providers in our area:

Liz Johnston of Treasure Trails based in Stonehaven How did you start up in business - Having enjoyed a murder mystery Treasure Trail in Glasgow I discovered from the website that nobody was writing Treasure Trails in the Deeside area – the rest is history! What motivates you – Positive feedback as the Trails are well received. Favourite time of year and why - I enjoy the springtime as that is when I’m usually out researching and writing new Trails – my favourite part of my job. How long have you been in business - 5 years What does the area mean to you - A fantastic mixture of towns and villages surrounded by natural beauty. From mountain to sea! What is the best thing about your job - I enjoy encouraging people to explore and learn more about places on their doorstep and see them in a different light.


Craig Westlake of Deeside Nature Activities based in Crathie. What made you want to go into the tourism – I derive great pleasure from seeing the joy visitors get when experiencing the wildlife in this fantastic part of Scotland,

Who are you inspired by – Sir David Attenborough’s wildlife programs, seeing the varied wildlife and the cultures of our planet. Your proudest achievement to-date – Overcoming a seriously prolapsed disc and being fit enough to set up in business and to compete at golf! Challenges ahead in your businesses – Increasing the number of safaris I offer and find more opportunities to show clients the species of wildlife they come here to see! One thing to do before you are too old – Seeing a wild Polar Bear in its natural environment has long been a goal of mine. Favorite holiday destination - The Greek island of Lesvos is a fantastic place, scenery is amazing and the hospitality wonderful.

www. discoverroyaldeeside.com The leading business organisation for tourism in Royal Deeside & the Cairngorms


Tourism Matters

Scotland’s tourism industry maintains its position as one of the key contributor to the nation’s economy. Overnight visitors generate in excess of £4.5bn annually and day visitors contributed a further £6.2bn, giving a total spend close to £11bn (2011 figures) It is easy to see why is a very important sector for the large number of small businesses who work either directly or indirectly within the industry. Tourism accounts for over 200,000 jobs, across 20,000 different tourism-related businesses, while also feeding into other sectors such as food and drink, retail, transport and construction. Many of these are in rural areas, so it can be said that tourism helps less populated communities to survive and prosper. The months of July to September are the most popular for holidays in Scotland amongst both UK and overseas visitors. However, business tourism is also a significant component of the Scottish tourism market and accounts for around 20% of the total visitor spend. Over the years visitor expectations are growing ever more sophisticated with a shift away from individual tourism attractions and more towards rounded experiences, delivered to a consistently high quality at each point of the customer journey. There is now an aspiration to turn Scotland’s many tourism assets into the quality, authentic experiences to match these visitor requirement and expectations. Tourism Scotland 2020 is an industry strategy, led by the Tourism Leadership Group (TLG), which aims to achieve and deliver on common goals for 2020 and beyond. Focusing on Scotland’s opportunities, strengths and capabilities and identify priorities for action in order to achieve an annual visitor spend of between £5.4bn and £6.4bn by 2020. One of its main aims is to grow the value of key market opportunities around the "Home Turf" being the UK, "Distant Cousins" USA, Canada etc. and "Near Neighbors" which is Western Europe and also building capacity to capitalise on the emerging markets. Through the themes of nature, heritage, activities, destinations, towns, cities, event, festival and business tourism it is looking to improve the customer journey through key areas of food, drink, transport, accommodation and digital connectivity. Identified by the Scottish Government, a number of years ago were 6 keys destination areas those being: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms, St Andrews and Highland Perthshire.


Tourism continues to be an important industry especially for small businesses and has been identified as one of the key sectors in the Scottish Governments economic strategy. Locally Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms continues to work to improve the quality of the visitor experience and to maximise the contribution which tourism makes to the area and economy. We are currently planning a number of events and projects for 2013 and will be holding our annual conference in early March. More details on this and the planned activities for 2013 will follow in future features.

www. discoverroyaldeeside.com The leading business organisation for tourism in Royal Deeside & the Cairngorms


Royal Deeside & Cairngorms