Outer Hebrides Tourism helped kick-start Scottish Tourism Month with almost 200 delegates from businesses and community groups attending its two-day destination conference in both Benbecula and Stornoway.
The event celebrated the Outer Hebrides recent success in being listed as a top global destination for 2019 by three major travel players - ‘Lonely Planet’, Airbnb and CNN
The conference unveiled a new marketing strategy for the Outer Hebrides built around six ‘island stories’, each one brought to life by a “storyteller’ from the islands or further afield.
Those sharing their own experience included Linda Johnston of Auchrannie Resort in Arran Karl Stevens of Hebridean Whale Trail, and Torcuil Crichton who spoke powerfully about the importance of anchoring tourism within the local community and its culture.
Outer Hebrides Tourism’s new Chief Executive, Rob McKinnon who hosted the conference commented: “It is great to see record numbers of businesses supporting the event, This is an important opportunity for local operators to engage with and influence our national partners such as the Scottish Tourism Alliance, VisitScotland and Calmac Ferries.”
Developments for this year in the islands’ tourism industry which were announced at the conference included:
A new gin from North Uist Distillery with the first bottles anticipated for April
A network of ‘Pit Stops’ along the Hebridean Way long-distance cycle and walking trails, where cyclists or walkers, tackling the epic trail can rest, refuel and re-stock with essential items.
The launch by the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust of the Hebridean Whale Trail later this spring, with the Outer Hebrides forming a large proportion of the trail to help, islanders and visitors alike, observe and understand these wonderful creatures.
Strengthening of the tourism team in the Outer Hebrides, including the appointment of Christina Morrison from South Uist, as a new marketing coordinator.