Tourism is the backbone of many local economies across Scotland, with the industry worth billions of pounds nationally.
And Tourism Business Improvement Districts are one of the ways in which groups of regional businesses are acting collectively in order to best promote their area, attract visitors, create jobs, increase spending and spread success.
Acting as destination marketing organisations, they bring together a wide range of stakeholders, including tourism organisations, community groups and businesses in order to focus on the visitor industry and drive positive developments which improve local communities, many of them rural.
Scotland is home to the UK’s first Tourism Business Improvement Districts.
Visit Inverness Loch Ness BID was the first. Visit Moray Speyside (VMS) was the second.
VMS represents the interests of almost 400 tourism businesses spread throughout Moray, from enchanting, secluded self-catering properties to boutique hotels, more than a dozen of Speyside’s world-famous distilleries and a host of unique attractions and activities.
It shares details about the great places to eat, drink, shop and find the best entertainment, often working with journalists nationally and internationally to arrange press trips and visits by bloggers and influencers to showcase the region.
The organisation’s online Destination Guide shines a spotlight on a land of natural contrasts, from the mighty Cairngorm Mountains to the rugged world-class Moray coastline, with people from across the world checking details to plan their visits.
VMS has grown into an influential voice in championing the interests of the tourism industry and its importance to the fabric of life across Moray and Speyside.
Chief executive Gemma Cruickshank said: “At Visit Moray Speyside (VMS) we work hard to create a real buzz and a positive image for the region. We strategise new ways to generate more visitors which will, in turn, support the area’s economy.
“We work hard to ensure new developments can get underway and all businesses are equipped to capitalise from them. VMS strives to make the region a better place to work, live and visit – developments often encourage more visitors so we can strategise to ensure that the region fully maximises all of the opportunities.”
Specialist sector improvement districts are a fantastic way of driving collaboration, unlocking investment and speaking with one voice to attract people to support the likes of visitor attractions as well as places to eat, shop and stay.
By acting together, businesses can not only encourage more people to the area, but the investment needed to improve the experience when they do.
Among the most recent innovations in Moray Speyside has been a partnership with The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers to pilot Fairbnb.coop – where 50% of online booking commissions are directed to support local tourism projects.
Find out more: www.morayspeyside.com