A final reminder of the meetings this week, and one important change - The Barra session today (Monday, February 10th) has been disrupted because Flybe have cancelled the flight from Glasgow which Carron was meant to be on, so she is travelling via Benbecula, and the meeting is delayed
Please contact Mairi on 07786 964971 if you are planning to attend to find out the latest arrangements. The other meetings are not affected – Uist meeting on Tuesday, February 11th, from 11am to 1.30pm in the Dark Island Hotel, Benbecula; and Stornoway on Wednesday, February 12th, from 5.30pm to 8pm at the Croft Suite, Caladh Hotel, Stornoway. The OHTIA Executive Committee is made up of representatives from across the islands and from different sectors.
As previously announced, the formal AGM of the OHTIA will take place on 12 February 2014, in the Croft Suite, Caladh Inn in Stornoway at 6pm, with snacks and refreshments available from 5.30pm The agenda for the meeting is on the home page of our website at www.hebridean-tourism.org and will shortly be updated with links to all the papers on the Agenda. As well as the normal AGM business we will be deciding on the future structure of the Association – the proposal is to form a Community Interest Company – and on increasing membership fees. The fee was set when VisitScotland was created in 2005.
The consequent closing of the Western Isles Tourist Board meant that there was no route for the industry’s voice to be heard by local or national policymakers.
The OHTIA was the local body formed to provide this. Funding came in the form of a dowry from the Comhairle and a relatively low membership rate of £25 (£20 paying by standing order) was set. Since then the OHTIA has grown its role and is more active in defining the needs of the tourism industry and sourcing the funding to allow development to happen.
The largest example of this is www.visitouterhebrides.co.uk, along with the new Apps being delivered this year, the Outer Hebrides Branding, conferences, training, access to marketing opportunities and so on.
Add in the effects of inflation since the start of OHTIA, and it becomes plain that the current fee is way too low. On the other hand, to be a truly representative body, as many tourism businesses as possible should be members, so the fee should not be set so high as to put potential members off. The recommendation to the AGM will be that membership be raised to allow us to generate more funds to continue to invest in what we do, and we need the support and approval of our members to make this change. As ever, it helps if we know how many people are coming to the events so the OHTIA can plan appropriately. Please let Mairi know at email@example.com if you are joining.