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Forth Valley’s tourism industry was reunited after almost three years at a special event organised by VisitScotland.
The national tourism organisation hosted an in-person networking session for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began at The Albert Halls in Stirling.
With collaboration and cross-selling key to developing the region’s tourism offering, it was important to bring tourism businesses together from across the Loch Lomond and Trossachs, Stirling, Clackmannanshire, and Falkirk. The event was an opportunity to share new developments and innovations in the local industry and highlight supportive tools from VisitScotland to help businesses navigate the cost of doing living crisis.
Around 45 businesses, attractions and organisations were in attendance including accommodation provider The Attic, the Scottish Tourist Guides Association and the Alloa Hub, a brand-new community-owned and run facility providing residents, visitors and local businesses with services and facilities including meeting room space, a ‘made in Clacks’ shop, e-bike station – part of Forth Bikes – and will also be a source of local information for visitors.
The evening also provided an opportunity for the local tourism industry to catch up with regional VisitScotland team including, Stirling and Aberfoyle iCentre staff and Regional Director Neil Christison.
The event marked new developments like Stirling’s recently launched augmented reality app. It brings the city’s rich history and heritage to life from the palm of visitors’ hands with interactive games unlocking rewards and incentives. Businesses and event organisers are being encouraged to work with the Stirling Council team to keep adding new content to the Stirling XP app. And following Falkirk’s successful Summer cycling campaign, the Forth Valley region is preparing to host sections of the UCI Cycling World Championships road race next year.
Speakers during the evening included Victoria Bruce-Winkler from Brucefield Estate in Forestmill, Mandy Brown from The Helix: Home of the Kelpies, Harvey Carruthers, Chief Executive of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum at Stirling Castle and VisitScotland’s Neil Christison.Neil said:“We know that many businesses are facing extremely difficult times and are having to consider how they adapt their operations to manage the cost challenges. We felt that holding this event would allow businesses to meet, give support and share best practice.“Seeing so many people involved in the local tourism industry connect and socialise after such a long time was brilliant to witness.“And as we move through the autumn and winter season, it is important to show support and be updated on latest development across the sector. VisitScotland will continue to work with partners in our tourism and events industry on promoting activity that extends the season and ensuring Scotland and Forth Valley remains front of mind for potential visitors.”Harvey said: ““Since lockdown we have worked hard to re-establish local tourism links, and this event helped initiate some new conversations.”
Region’s tourism industry reunites