Over to Dick Walsh for an explanation, please. …

Comment posted Argyll and the Isles hits warp speed by Robert Wakeham.

Over to Dick Walsh for an explanation, please.

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  • An average spend of 50p for each visitor can’t be right, can it?

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30 Responses to Over to Dick Walsh for an explanation, please. …

    • It’s a matter of opinion but at least there is now a brand logo for brand Argyll & the Isles.

      Onwards and upwards I say – you have to start somewhere, the fine tuning can always come later.

      Thought for Today: Positive Versus Negative
      Positive thinking and optimistic outlook will never produce bad results. Negative thinking and pessimistic approach will never produce good results. Positive thinkers will never fail. Negative thinkers will never succeed.

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  1. Well done to everyone who attended yesterday and especially the committee of the Argyll & Isles Stategic Tourism Partnership for their ambition, vision and courage to take the bull by the horns and make something positive happen for the tourism industry in Argyll & the Isles.

    Thought for Today: Positive Versus Negative

    Positive thinking and optimistic outlook will never produce bad results. Negative thinking and pessimistic approach will never produce good results. Positive thinkers will never fail. Negative thinkers will never succeed.

    Keep the momentum going and good luck in all your endeavours.

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  2. It would be good to see something positive come out of all the hoo ha, though I have my doubts with A&BC representatives involved

    Brian Keating has got it spot on with the airports issue. The operation of the publicly owned airports in Argyll, whether HIAL or A&BC, is a huge drag on moving forward with aviation tourism.

    In 1995/96 North Connel Airfield was attracting on average 50 visiting aircraft per year. In 1997 my company did a deal with ABC (all the risk and costs being on us of course)to day to day manage and promote the airfield. I encouraged them to change the name of the facility to Oban Airport to give it a better identity, which they did. By 2004,using industry knowledge and a genuine understanding of the market, the airport was attracting 2500 a/c per year bringing high spending self fly tourist from all over the UK and Europe. In 2002 & 2005 it was voted Airfield of The Year in the Flyer Magazine annual awards. In 2006 ABC (thinking they had a sure winner on their hands) took over the operation of the airport, spent £8M on facility, employed 11 staff and have now lost over 60% of the existing business ! They’re now on their third manager in five years, none of whom had/have the faintest idea how to operate a small GA airport and the use of the facility is still plummeting. The only new user they have attracted to Oban Airport is the one they pay £1M a year to fly from it under a PSO contract. And ABC’s only solution to the disaster is to reduce the opening hours and severely restrict out of hours use of the airport. They clearly don’t understand the law of diminishing returns.

    The same politicians who were responsible for the airport fiasco are also in charge of the council’s roads…

    A fair definition of stupidity is to keep doing the same actions over and over and expect a different result. ABC should stick to properly managing it’s statutory obligations and leave all else to those who know their business.

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  3. ‘ Positive thinking and optimistic outlook will never produce bad results’. I really think you want to read Paul Keegan’s letter again. If I remember rightly that very same ignorant attitude by certain councillors was the cause of the present dreadful state of North Connel Airfield.

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  4. Argyll & Bute Council is run primarily by elected councillors voted in by members of the public along with appointed council officials (allegedly employed because they were deemed to be the best person for the job!).

    I suspect (if past performance is anything to go by, and this is just my opinion),the majority of them have very little experience of running businesses or dealing with financial matters and council budgets. As they are spending other people’s money rather than their own – (in my experience this is usually the case when it comes to bad financial management), fiscal decisons are usually made based on where the votes are going to matter the most rather than where the money is actually needed!

    If the public are not happy with their councillors then don’t vote them in, otherwise a complacent public will always end up with the incompetent council they deserve.

    Positive thinking was not at fault or responsible for the current state of the North Connel airfield – it was to do with incompetent councillors and officials. Fortunately the Argyll & Isles STP is in the hands of businesses who have the interests of the economic survival of Argyll & the Isles at heart and do not need to worry about whose vote they maybe losing or whose toes they may be stepping on! Handbagging their efforts in such a negative way is neither helpful or productive.

    Positive attitudes are not ignorant – it’s what gets things done in a time of eternal navel gazing and procrastination.

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  5. I can see the attraction of this to local business people but what has it to offer the man and woman in the street?

    A few minimum wage jobs that’s what.

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    • JimB – a few minimum wage jobs is better than no jobs and as a significant £40 million of tourism revenue was spent in the Argyll & Isles in 2010 then I suggest you stop turning your nose up at it.

      Negative thinking and pessimistic approach will never produce good results – that’s the second part of the Thought for Today :-)

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  6. JimB – do you actually mean this or are you trying to be provocative?
    15% of all employment in A&B is currently in the tourism industry, should this not be encouraged? Or should we all simply rely on the state to pay for everything?
    The majority of ‘local business people’ probably earn a lot less than the minimum wage.

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  7. As one of the team behind Argyll and the Isles Tourism, I wanted to add few figures and facts that might help folks see why we had to set AIT in motion.

    1) 17.9% of all fulltime jobs in Argyll and Bute are in tourism. Add in support services….tradesmen, suppliers,Food producers, transport etc, and the figure baloons.
    2) Direct Tourism revenues alone produce £218 million pounds in wages and profits in Argyll and Bute this adds up to 17% of ALL wages paid.
    3) Tourism is and is set to remain the largest single sector in Argyll and Bute.
    4) Tourism creates the shop window that showcases ALL Argyll and the Isles products

    Argyll and The Isles Tourism was set up by Industry, led by Industry and is run for the benefit of the Tourism industry in Argyll and Bute.
    We have created good public sector support, by working closly and demonstrating what industry really needs…not what local government thought it wanted…now they provide up with amazing support.
    Argyll and the Isles like many rural destinations has been losing market share and spend year on year since 2008/9 when the recession first hit home.
    We all need to massively increase the profile of Argyll and the Isles to be able to compete in a increasingly tough market.
    In short, we need everyone to get behind us and become an Argyll and the Isles brand ambassador.

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  8. For Scruff.
    Do you mean the mean the hourly rate the owners would be working for is less than the minimum wage due to the hours they put in.Or are the overheads so tight they have less money to take personnally.Traditionally the hotels have been poor payers but compensating with accomadation thrown in.I would very much doubt that the gift shops and woollen mill shops in Oban are big payers and even the clothes shops must be struggling against the online market.So it would be interesting to see a survey of costs and wages across the whole sector to get a clearer picture.As one owner brought up a good point about the charity shops being excempt from rates but if you are the owner of that property and you rent to the charity you still pick up your cash.Is that a valid point?
    The BIDS project in Oban has stuttered so far, so we have to to wait to see what the local buisness people want to do.Tesco wanting to pull out has upset a lot of people so I am not upto date on the latest state of play.Anybody got the latest news.The latest story in the town has been over a possible move by the council to compulsory purchase EUSK and PIAZZA on the pier because OF THE lORN ARC project and the need to extend the pier.Hopefully this nonsense will prove to be unfounded because these are top class facilities and a big employer.A couple more cruise liners getting to come into the bay will not create any more jobs.
    Just fishing for information from business people or anyone who is self employed on what they think could help them survive and maybe expand their business.
    Power to the People.

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    • Neil – In my experience owners of small businesses don’t have the luxury of working for an hourly rate. By the time they pay staff salaries, employers NI contributions, insurances, rent, corporation tax, VAT, suppliers, telephone bills, electricity bills and so on, they feel fortunate if they are able to draw enough to personally survive at the end of the month.
      So many people like JimB think business owners must be earning a fortune because they work for themself but they have absolutely no idea of the reality of small business, it’s a day-to-day struggle to keep your head above water.
      The Council certainly doesn’t help. They say how good they are at working with local business but they don’t. The current administration have the belief that bigger is better and they will engineer their procurement process in such a way that local companies don’t stand a chance.
      National companies have departments purely dedicated to producing tender documents for bids, how can local owners who are responsible for doing everything in their business possibly compete against that.
      As Kats said, the Council is run by people who haven’t a clue about business or how they operate. They will take on companies who don’t give a stuff about A&B and it’s lack of employment. They will actively recruit people from outwith the area knowing fine well that they only come to do the work and then return to whence they came during their days off. And they don’t spend a single penny locally.
      Sorry if this goes against the main thrust of the thread in relation to what the Council has done with the day, which does sound very positive. Will they still have the same enthusiasm if the current administration are re-elected and don’t need to score any more brownie points with the electorate.

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  9. Pingback: Argyll News: Lastest: Argyll and the Isles Strategic Tourism Partnership | For Argyll

  10. Hi Jane Allan

    Heart of Argyll Tourism Alliance is right in the middle. HOTA is a founding member, and your representitive Carron Tobin is a director of AISTP and her speech at the summit was microblogged on For Argyll

    Hope this helps

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  11. Toilets would be handy in Oban right now. The poor visitors coming of the buses at the old bowling alley are doing a highland dance waiting at the railway station toilet, thats if its open.Clean well maintained public facilities and enough staff do the job properly give your local area pride before all the big projects.Remember the idea from the council, they would pay a toilet levy to shop owners for letting the public use their toilets.No toilets,no parking unless you know a local councillor for a permit.Thats a good one he could advise visitors how to get free parking when they visit Oban.As somebody who lives in Oban I am waiting to see how these grand plans materalize the track record for the council is not good, as Paul Keegan on the airport fiasco has excellently described.So we watch with interest and hope for the best.
    Power to the People.

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  12. For Newsroom.
    Just to add a bit to the tourism debate.
    Sorry this is about Oban but just been given some figures about the passenger numbers from the cruise ships and the income we get from it.Last year 6,000 came ashore and gave us an income of £3,ooo.That was seemingly 75% of passengers which seems to me a very poor return?These are the councils own figures I am assured but I have done a FOI just to get confirmation.My question for debate surrounds the harbour project and the spending of £1.8 million to extend the pier and put in pontoons and for what return.Will it make any difference?Do we need 2 sets of pontoons?Could the money be spent on better projects?Love to get a bit of feedback and I will put the results of my FOI up as soon as I get it.

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  13. How did the Kintyre fast express get to Portavadie from Islay?

    Round the Mull?

    That’s about 80 miles, quite a trip!

    Through the Canal?

    Bit slow.

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  14. For Phil,

    “How did 6,000 passengers only leave £3,000 income for the town”

    Two visits to the toilets each @ 25p a time? Its called something fancy now, “In income stream”

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  15. I see in today’s Oban Times that the ‘War Chest’ fund – which is essentially public money – will be used in part to fund ‘a portal website’ . Is this a sensible investment when so much public money has already been poured into the VisitScotland website, and will the project be put out to tender or is the deal already sewn up I wonder?

    I note from the same Oban Times article that another use of these public funds is to be ‘familiarisation trips for industry figures’. Sounds a little like jollies for the boys at the tax-and-ratepayers’ expense to me.

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  16. In response to the questions from “Scots Renewables”,who raises some very good points, I thought I might give you some information from the horses mouth so to speak.

    The Tourism Industry in Argyll and the Isles, by way of the 28 Marketing groups and the National Park, identified that it wanted to see an area specific website, that would attract business to Argyll and the Isles, not just Scotland in general.

    The web portal will be developed to act for the 28 marketing groups in Argyll and The Isles, to give their specific areas more visibility. It will also act as a database of all points of interest, activities, historical interests, high class imagery and locally designed familiarisation trips for wholesale travel agents, travel journalists and overseas buyers who can bring valuable spend to our area. The database will also be used by local businesses to help put together attractive itineraries for guests, to create “A Journey Through Argyll”

    There is indeed public money in the war chest, but a full 25% of it was raised by the buy in of local marketing groups.

    As AISTP has funded all its works for the last two years from the pockets of the members, we know how important it is to have a duty of care to make sure the tax payers monies and the private sector monies are well spent, all work we undertake will go out to proper tender.

    I appreciate all the fantastic support we are getting from Industry, The Media and the public purse, and as an industry led body, we will always endeavour to get best value.

    Mike Story
    Argyll and The Isles Tourism

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  17. That’s all good news Mike. I note that the existing website was created by a Glasgow-based company. It would be good if the new portal was created by an Argyll-based business – there are, after all, more than a few web design businesses in Argyll.

    Will there be any way of measuring or quantifying the financial return from the website?

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  18. Hello Scots Renewable.

    I must confess that I had not looked at who initially produced the current Argyll and the Isles website. When we set the group up we actually borrowed the current site from Argyll Food Producers and Food from Argyll who were kind enough to come to our aid. We as a group are very aware of the importance of local provenance, right across Argyll and the Isles, and where possible we will be buying services locally.



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