Fifth Argyll and the Isles Tourism Summit on 15th March – the venue is the draw

Argyll and the Isles Tourism Cooperative [AITC] is holding its fifth Tourism Summit on Tuesday 15th March 2016 in the new Tower Digital Arts Centre in Sinclair Street in Helensburgh.

The theme for the event is: ‘Collaboration and the day tripper economy’ – which, oddly. seems to ignore the interests of the majority of members of the industry who are the accommodation providers; and the greater interests of the Argyll economy, which will of course benefit more from longer stays.

That said, the fact that one of the speakers – in a programme that seems a miscellany of convenience, with the principal speaker present on video only – is from ferry operator, CalMac, there is an immediate question to be raised with that speaker on a matter hard-wired to the supposed theme of the event.

The company ran a three year pilot period  from 2012-2015, which was far from a success, of a limited and seasonal ferry service between Ardrossan in Ayshire and Campbeltown in Kintyre Рvia, on Saturdays, the Isle of Arran, only on the outward bound passage from Campbeltown.

The timetable and passages on this service offered not one single day return trip to Campbeltown, to allow folk from Ayrshire and its visitors to get the introduction to Campbeltown and Kintyre that might prompt later and longer explorations.

Worse, if anyone wanted to take a quick look at Campbeltown, the timetable meant that this could not be done without two, not even one, overnight stays.

The service also offered not one single day return trip from Campbeltown to Arran.

The only day return it offered was out of Campbeltown for a day’s shopping in Glasgow via train from Ardrossan.

The question to be asked is – why, when, for political not economic reasons, the pilot was made a permanent provision, did CalMac simply repeat the failed timetable, with no day trips to Campbeltown and Kintyre,or between Campbeltown and Arran?

If there is serious value in developing the day tripper offer for Argyll’s major centres of attraction, this ferry service ought, in some return on taxpayer investment, to be properly harnessed to that sector instead of ignoring its needs and rewards.

The main attraction of this rather scrambled-seeming Tourism Summit is the venue.

The Tower Digital Arts Centre in Helensburgh, is an innovative initiative led by one of Argyll’s serious entrepreneurs, Brian Keating, who will open the event.

The programme promises the opportunity to see an exhibit which will have just been installed and which, although its identity is not revealed, may be guessed at from the facts that it is said to be ‘the 50 foot 39 tonnes centrepiece for Scotland’s first Submarine Museum opening weeks later for the 2016 season’.

Full details of the event, with booking arrangements, are online here.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • yawn

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

    Thebeastofballsunder February 19, 2016 9:57 am Reply
  • if tourism in Argyll is to flourish it will not be for the want of trying on behalf of those in the tourist industry, but before they waste money on these kind of projects sort out the state of the roads here, which are abysmal. I don’t have figures but I would bet that the majority of tourists visiting Argyll come by road and the number of tourists commenting on the state of the roads will no doubt increase until something is done. Leaving it as is will only deter people from travelling here by road and adversley affecting the industry

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    mike February 19, 2016 1:22 pm Reply
  • Marketing groups and tourism will not prosper if they are only recieving on average 0.68 -1 click through traffic from the main “umbrella” web site. This has been the case for the last four years, going into the last year of funding in this state is very un-healthy for the future of tourism in Argyll.

    The lack of digital strategy along with an analog mindset in a digital landscape has resulted in little support for the marketing groups. Like this year digital has always been mentioned as a driving force at the seminars and is what anyone in tourism is expecting. The marketing groups are not interested in day trippers, that economy is run by the constant stream of buses going from Argyll town to Argyll town, cyclists, kayaking, fishing, etc.

    The theme is a cop-out for the accommodation sector and marketing groups of Argyll. AITC was set up to promote and drive web traffic to the marketing groups, to support the membership, that’s what it was set up for, so why not get that sorted out without all the smoke and mirror tourism.

    Harsh but true, please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Funding from A & B and HIE should be paused until the very basics are sorted out. This entire situation was brought up last year in private with AITC and MSP and various councillors but seems that there is little interest in the growth of tourism in Argyll.

    Knowing this and doing nothing is much worse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    Iain Hurrel February 22, 2016 9:56 am Reply
  • yo Shrek…..I thought your better half was a director?…did you not have any input?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

    Thebeastofballsunder February 24, 2016 9:34 pm Reply
  • Lost me on that one beast, to much day time TV for you maybe? Try and be constructive

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    Iain Hurrel February 25, 2016 1:18 pm Reply

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