Back Moray tourism BID, urges VisitScotland chief
THE leader of Scotland's national tourism body today urged Moray businesses to get behind a new way of promoting the region to the world.
VisitScotland chairman Lord Thurso made the plea to almost 300 tourism businesses from Moray Speyside and beyond at the annual Moray Speyside Tourism (MST) Conference taking place at Elgin's Town Hall.
Keynote speaker Lord Thurso urged attendees to back MST’s proposal to introduce a Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) which would see a collective of local businesses invest funds to develop and shape the area’s tourism industry.
Some 378 tourism businesses will be eligible to vote on the proposal when the TBID postal ballot opens on December 4 for six weeks.
Supporters say a TBID would take the region’s tourism performance to the next level and could significantly boost visitor numbers.
Lord Thurso said: "Tourism is one of Scotland’s most important industries and is at the heart of economic success in Moray Speyside, creating jobs and sustaining communities.
"Moray Speyside displays real ambition in its drive for tourism and the establishment of a TBID in the region will allow the industry to continue to develop and thrive.
"By voting in favour of the TBID when the ballot opens next month, businesses in the region can ensure that it continues to be promoted as a destination of first choice, maximising economic impact and safeguarding the profitability of tourism businesses now and in the future. That’s why I would urge tourism businesses in Moray Speyside to back the TBID."
MST operations manager Laurie Piper said: "This year’s conference was the last under the banner of Moray Speyside Tourism, but hopefully not the last time the region’s tourism industry has cause to celebrate.
"The annual value of tourism to the Moray Speyside economy has grown by almost £30 million.
"Whilst our region’s tourism industry may be in the best shape ever, the only way to ensure this continues is for businesses to support the TBID. Without it, our region will no longer be marketed to visitors and our tourism industry will no longer have a voice.
"It’s great to have the backing of VisitScotland chairman Lord Thurso and I hope tourism businesses across the region will join him in backing the BID when ballots open on December 4."
Speakers at his year's conference also included digital marketing expert Gary Ennis on "anti-social media", and businessman and Highlands ambassador Willie Cameron, known as "Mr Loch Ness".