This is unarguably the biggest coup yet for the energetic and purposive Argyll and the isles Tourism Cooperative Ltd.
CEO Mike Story, a sleepless strategist and campaigner for the area, has attracted a key tourism conference to Argyll for October this year – and it could not be a greater or more fitting opportunity for this crucial business sector in Argyll.
More than that, the format of the event will set your socks on fire with its energy, fun and complex impact on the buyers.
Argyll and the Isles will host the Scottish Destination Management Association [SDMA] conference in Argyll on 21st October.
The SDMA membership, listed here, is of the specialist custom tour operators, the tailor-made buyers of specialist activity, special interest oportunities, unique accommodation offers – and compelling possibilities for corporate away days and events.
The demographic target of their businesses fits the Argyll and the Isles market perfectly.
Calum Ross, Co-Chairman [with Connie Lovell from Mount Stuart] of Argyll & the Isles Tourism Cooperative [AITC] says: ‘Argyll and the Isles Tourism are delighted to host this important conference.
‘The companies involved with the SDMA are important to us, not only do they bring customers to our area, but through their own marketing they help promote Argyll and the Isles all over the world.’
The event will be held at the spectacular Loch Melfort Hotel, brooding over an unforgettable seascape and with Arduaine Garden literally on its doorstep. That can only be a great place to pitch from.
Now look at the format of the event.
Mike Story, Executive Director of Argyll and the Isles Tourism explains: ‘We figured that the best way to get a range of key messages and products over to these guys would be to hold a speed dating session.
‘That way instead of having someone talk at them all day, a team of representatives from all over Argyll and the Isles can sit down opposite the team from the SDMA and pitch them what each area has to offer.
‘When the bell rings they move on to the next person and so, so each of the pitchers gets an uninterrupted session with one of the buyers.’
The AITC will have at the conference, representatives from the local area marketing groups and from each of the six sectors where AITC feels – on good evidence 0 Argyll has an outstanding offer to make; Marine Tourism; Wildlife – sea, air and land ; Outdoors – golf, guided walks, activities, camping, sea trips, air trips; Art, Culture and Heritage – with castles, music, arts and crafts – and the birthplace of Scotland; Food & Drink – seafood, venison, lamb, ales; Whisky & Distilleries – a clear specialism.
What we’re seeing here is an opportunity for each area and each sector in Argyll to get a high impact opportunity to sell what they have to offer – while every one of them contributes to selling Argyll as a whole to these centrally appropriate industry buyers.
Imagine you’re one of the SDMA member companies, getting a fast moving series of people offering you , time after time, unique, gold nugget opportunities in the blink of an eye:
- sea kayaking in Bute and Oban;
- sailing in Tighnabruaich, Loch Craignish and the Gare Loch;
- golf at Machrihanish, Loch Lomond and Helensburgh;
- coasteering on Islay and north Argyll;
- diving at Dunoon, Mull and Oban;
- guided walks across Argyll – and guided bird walks in Islay;
- whisky tours;
- sea angling off Islay and Jura;
- corporate seductions at Mount Stuart, Inveraray Castle, Ardkinglas, the Isle of Eriska, Portavadie…
- deer stalking on Jura;
- surfing at Westport in Kintyre, wind surfng / board sailing on Tiree
- bird watching, lighthouse visiting
- marine wild life tours from Mull, Islay, Oban, Ardfern, Crinan and more;
- thrills and spills to the Corryvreckan and the Grey Dogs from Easdale, Ardfern and Crinan;
- specialist gardens in Cowal, Mid Argyll adn the Rosneath penisnsula
- round Colonsay RIB tours;
- air trips to Tiree, Coll, Colonsay and Islay;
- half marathons in locations so scenic you don’t feel the pain;
- music festivals of all kinds in all places;
- seaplane flights;
- boat charters out of Campbeltown, Oban,
- scenic road trips, through geologically and historically rich places – anywhee, mainland and islands;
- specialist eating and dining delights;
- cycling opportunities of all kinds on Islay;
- nature reserves
- therapies and pampering…
And we could all go on all day in adding to this.
By the time the evangelical sellers of opportunities, activities and hospitality in Argyll have finished with them, the SDMA members might well begin to wonder if they need to look at anywhere else.
Argyll and the Isles Tourism has made this opportunity possible. Now the local marketing groups and the representaties of each of the six sectors has until October to get bright-eyed, bushy tailed and ready to deliver the sharpest, most compelling pitches [timed to the second].
Paul Graham, Chair of Argyll and the Isles Strategic Tourism Partnership [which embraces the local marketing groups, the public sector bodies involved in tourism and some of the key players in the sector’ says about the conference: ‘This has been a major coup for us to attract the conference and AGM of such an influential group.
‘Many of us already work with some of the operators and representatives of our Direct Marketing Organisations will be attending on the day to ‘speed date’ the delegates.
‘This is a fantastic opportunity to be able to engage with them on a one to one basis. This will also put Argyll & The Isles on their literature for 2014 and beyond. Good times ahead. Thanks to the directors of AITC, Mike Story & Carron Tobin for making this happen.
‘As Chair of Argyll & The Isles Strategic Tourism Partnership I was delighted to hear of the ‘trunking’ of the A83 all the way to Campbeltown.
‘This sends the message that Argyll & The Isles is upping its game and becoming recognised as a world class destination for tourism. With the road being adopted into the Scottish Government remit, this will safeguard the future of the fabric of the route and we will benefit from better quality of road infrastructure.’
And that will be music to the ears of a lot of specialist tailor-made operators visiting in October. Argyll beong the massive and spectacular territory it is, you cannot get away from the roads – and the better they are, the better Argyll will do.