Argyll and the Isles Tourism stormed Holyrood

Mike Story, CEO of Argyll and the Isles Tourism and his colleague, Carron Toibin, of Heart of Argyll Tourism Association were at the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood a couple of days ago leading workshops on Marine Tourism at a day long event there.

The session was chaired by Scotland West MSP, Stuart McMillan whom Mike Story describes as ‘an excellent chair’, with Environment Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, ‘very supportive’.

Stephen Leckie of the Scottish Tourism Association – due to speak at the Argyll and the Isles Tourism Summit at Mount Stuart this coming Wednesday [13th March], is said to have spoken well – a good augury for his appearance at the gig on Bute.

The Hoyrood event was not only sold out, it was overbooked – so interest is keen. Carron and Mike, along with Caroline Warburton of Wild Scotland and James Stuart of RYAS {both also at Mount Stuart] all had a ball pitching Argyll and its model of partnership working, innovation and best practice.

Carron and Mike evangelised for connectivity in all areas of tourism, with marine tourism needing to be knitted in to land based attractions as well.

In their two sessions, they worked with large and diverse groups of people, showing them how connecting different sectors of tourism could benefit entire areas and how theses areas can work together. Notions like Sail Trail, Marina Hopping and festival based trips were all discussed.

Mike Story used Campbeltown and Kintyre as a case study, where Marine tourism, whisky golf and landscapes could all be harnessed in tandem to regenerate one of the most fragile towns in Scotland. He teased the audience with the possibility of golfers sailing, sailors golf, the whole shebang lubricated by good whisky and with mountain biking and hillwalking thrown in to challenge the lot of them.

Mike emphasises the fact that many areas are difficult to reach by road but are already a well known stopping point for boat users, pointing to the need to play to an areas strengths, not to its perceived weaknesses.

They seemed to be on a buzz after the event – so the Summit at Mount Stuart on Wednesday – looking like a sell-out – should be on fire.

It’s too late to register now for free travel to Mount Stuart, provided by the respective courtesy of CalMac, West Coast Motors, Portavadie Marina and Kintyre Express. But you’ll find the details of the event and the registration website in our recent article here.

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3 Responses to Argyll and the Isles Tourism stormed Holyrood

  1. Well done Carron and Mike – Argyll Tourism’s great double act.

    Argyll in general has been undersold for a long time. Kintyre, Gigha and Mid Argyll are undoubtedly Scotland’s best kept secret. It’s great that, at long last, someone is leaking this secret to the rest of the world in such style.

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    • The thing about Argyll is that it’s ALL a secret.
      Cowal’s a secret – and it’s bang on the doorstep of Inverclyde and Glasgow. There’s a website called Argyll’s Secret Coast working to address this one. Then there’s a world called Bute.
      North Argyll’s a secret, with the hidden riches of the coastal hinterland from Benderloch to Appin, with the Shians, Port Appin and the Isle of Lismore. And there are no fewer than four great hotels in this area.
      Mid Argyll gets driven through but is rendered anonymous by its no-name name, with the Heart of Argyll Tourism Association working to rename it. Try HAKI. It’s got massive secret inland scenery and freshwater lochs few ever see and the Craignish peninsula is a jewellery box.
      Helensburgh and Lomond is the closest to Glasgow but Rosneath is a secret as are the Glens between the A83 and the Gare Loch and Loch Long; and who pays enough attention to Inversnaid and Ardlui except speed through?
      The islands are a necklace of secrets – how many people living in Argyll have ever been out to Tiree, or Coll, or Colonsay, or Jura – or even over to lovely little Gigha – never mind to the bigger islands of Mull and Islay? Then there are the Slate Isles and Kerrera – on the doorstep and still a mystery to most of us. And we live here.
      And, as you say there’s Kintyre – a secret full of secrets.
      Argyll is so hugely endowed with resources of nature and place it’s close to being beyond even our own grasp – which is why we need so badly the great job Argyll and the isles Tourism and all of the local marketing groups that belong to it are doing.

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      • Yes we are in a wonderful part of the world. And who knows, with tough financial times, if we can communicate this message successfully, then more people may feel inclined to take a holiday on virtualy their own doorstep.
        This economic cloud may just have a siver lining.
        Good luck to all those involved in this initiative.

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