Draft Tourism Strategy by 00A3aH2A

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									A TOURISM STRATEGY
        for
 AYRSHIRE & ARRAN

     2011-2016



      DRAFT

FOR CONSULTATION




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Prepared by the Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Strategy Working Group
AEP Version 3.0 - 110601

A – BACKGROUND & VISION

Background

       AEP, five sectors, tourism is one
       Ayrshire and Arran have well established visitor economy - £342 million
        annual value, 9000 jobs
       Wide range of experiences – rural, coastal, built environments; world
        class golf, sailing, culture and heritage; high quality food, drink and
        hospitality; beautiful islands, marine and country
       Challenge is to build on that success – to grow businesses, to create
        jobs and to improve our communities.

AEP Vision and Plans for Tourism

Members of the Ayrshire Economic Partnership are committed to ensuring
that Ayrshire & Arran’s tourism sector makes an increasing contribution to our
economy and our communities. We will work together and across industry
sectors to support and assist the growth and development of successful
businesses and in promoting our area’s quality products to a worldwide
market. This will provide increased opportunities for employment growth and
income from tourism revenue, reinforce our drive to enhance the built and
natural environment and improve the lives and vitality of our local
communities.

To achieve our ambitions, the Ayrshire Economic Partnership will work in
partnership with all of the tourism industry within Ayrshire & Arran and across
industry sectors to:

       Focus on key tourism markets
       Demonstrate progress by reporting on our performance
       Maximise our resources and thereby the return on our investment
       Deliver a programme of early actions during 2011.

Our Vision

       By the end of 2016, Ayrshire and Arran will be the destination of choice
        within Scotland for visitors seeking experiences around coastline,
        countryside, natural environment and quality food
       Visitors will recognise Ayrshire & Arran for a superb welcome,
        knowledgeable staff and fantastic experiences.




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B – OBJECTIVES

[It is our intention to have a set of firm numbers for the objectives below.
However, further analysis is on-going, so there is a substantial caveat on the
levels of growth currently forecast.]

Strategic Statement

      Our strategy is to focus on and exploit the offers & opportunities where
       we have clear strengths and good growth opportunities, whilst
       improving our enablers
      Customers will be central to our prioritisation, recognising that
       successfully delivering our objectives will be driven by our
       attractiveness in a highly competitive marketplace
      Priorities will be set with the industry through the consultation process
      We will develop our offerings and enablers in ways that are aligned to
       key market segments and experiences, rather than as isolated
       products
      We will review progress against the strategy, and the effectiveness of
       our governance, after two years.

By the end of 2016 we will have:

      Increased the number of visitors coming to Ayrshire and Arran annually
       from 3.43 million by 10% to 3.78 million
      Increased the annual spend by visitors from £342 million by 20% to
       £410 million
      Increased the number of jobs in the sector from 8,880 by 10% to 9,768
      Improved the built and natural environment for the benefit of both
       visitors and residents.




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C - STRATEGIC AND MARKET CONTEXT

National Context

      Tourism central to Scottish economy, worth £11 billion and supporting
       270,000 jobs
      Tourism is a sustainable industry, conserving and protecting natural
       assets and communities
      Home market important as solid base of visitors, but overseas valuable
       due to spend that they bring
      The “themed years” of Creative (2012) and Natural (2013), leading up
       to the next Year of the Homecoming in 2014, will be important to
       exploit
      2014, with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and Ryder Cup at
       Gleneagles, offers significant opportunities, with increased international
       visitor appeal
      The national support agencies, VisitScotland and EventScotland, drive
       the national strategic development of the sector and are key partners in
       developing distinctive, successful regional offerings.

Market Context

      Canny consumer here to stay – value for money messages are
       important
      Quality of product crucial, especially in light of increasing internet
       review services, therefore essential to exploit to the full new media
       marketing routes and to provide for interaction with products using new
       media channels.
      Holidays remain vital, despite recession
      Demographic trends point to more older visitors, who are more active
       and have a younger outlook than previously
      International markets affected by economic concerns
      Late bookings and short breaks increasing
      Today’s tourist wants:
           o Destinations within 3 hours travel time
           o Special interest holidays and special experiences
           o Authenticity
           o Good value for money
           o Multiple experiences on a single trip, including day trips
           o Growing interest in active lifestyles; well – being experiences;
              extended education, especially in heritage and culture; green
              tourism and sustainability.




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D - OUR VISITORS AND FUTURE TRENDS

Our Visitors

           Visitor economy for Ayrshire and Arran (2009 figures) - £342 million
            revenue; 3.4 million visitors, split into 62% day visitors; 33% domestic
            tourists1; 5% overseas tourists.
           Characteristics:
                o Day visitors – low spend (£28 per trip), high repeat visits,
                    families with children
                o Domestic – fairly low spend (£39 per night, £155 per trip),
                    average stay 3-4 days, majority over 55, most staying with
                    friends and relatives
                o Overseas – high spend (average £353 per head need like for
                    like figures i.e. per trip), visiting as part of wider trip to Scotland.
                    Half from USA, Germany and Sweden, high proportion staying
                    with friends and family.

Why they come

           Top three reasons are Burns, golf, traditional seaside/sea
           Most important other activities are visiting castles, churches, leisure
            shopping
           But they don’t like:
               o Level of cleanliness
               o Quality of customer service in shops
               o Quality of accommodation.

What might this mean for Ayrshire and Arran tourism in the future?

           Target the domestic market by doing more on integrating packages of
            activities and experiences.
           Provide added value – improve the visitor experience with product
            knowledge and better service
           Develop and promote unique Ayrshire and Arran experiences
           Use traditional and new media to connect to customers
           Extend the visitor season using events and canny pricing/packaging of
            activities and experiences
           Exploit our ability to offer authentic food & drink experiences
           For specific markets:
                o Day visitors – increase spend per trip rather than trying to attract
                    more day trippers, convert visitors into overnight stays, extend
                    portfolio of events

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    A “tourist” stays overnight, a day visitor does not.


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o Domestic tourists – increase number and spend, develop
  mixture of business and activity tourism.
o Overseas tourists – increase number, increase spend, increase
  duration of stay




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E - OUR OFFERS & OPPORTUNITIES



Ayrshire & Arran has a fantastic range of assets and these are testament to
the already strong and vibrant Tourism sector. This section considers the
most significant of these, both in terms of what we already have (our offers)
and how it can be strengthened and developed within this strategy (our
opportunities). In reality, the individual segments do not stand in isolation of
each other – the real world is a mixture of them all – they simply provide a
way to identify development actions.



The current market trends and our stated intentions for holding or growing
these in future are indicative – they set out our intended direction of travel.
Making good progress will be dependent on both public and private sector
involvement and investment. Specific activities will need to be driven forward
by committed leaders.



1. Burns

Currently:

      Market is static at the Scottish level, but international in nature
      Worth £100 million+ to tourism in Scotland, much of which comes to
       Ayrshire & Arran
      Performance peaked in 2009, Year of the Homecoming
      Significant recent investment in assets, notably NTS Birthplace
       Museum
      Strong sense of place at Alloway
      Products and assets are of mixed quality
      Fragmentation of offerings at present
      Events are a significant and productive feature of our offering



Future: Our objective is to increase the yield generated from our already
dominant share of the market. Related actions:



      Support businesses to develop creative linkages between offerings
      Develop more joined-up offerings that will sell unique experiences
      Improve Burns product awareness and develop cross-selling practices
      Develop the events/festivals offering, including a contemporary angle

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      Build and exploit links to related cultural aspects, e.g. Humanitarian
      Develop linkages and collaborations within other Burns geographies




2. Ancestral Tourism

Currently:

      Market is growing at the Scottish level
      Worth about £70 million to Scotland, with over 100,000 visits to
       Scotland
      Some 50 million people worldwide with a claim to Scottish ancestry
      Second most popular search topic on the internet
      Scotland has one of the best sets of genealogical records in the world
      Visits are to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors
      Ayrshire & Arran has a wealth of related assets
      An emotionally-based purchase, where experiences must be rich
      Tourists are generally older, wealthier, stay longer and spend more
      They are likely to make return trips, and encourage relatives to do so
      They are, compared to the average tourist, twice as likely to stay with
       friends and relatives,
      Our product is strong in pockets but disjointed


Future: Our objective is to hold our current share. Related actions:

      Align marketing with VisitScotland’s AncestralScotland marketing
      Identify and develop ways to enhance pre-visit ancestral research
       facilities and guidance
      Enhance online information to enable trip planning, customisation and
       cross-selling at the pre-trip stage
      Explore ways to strengthen the cross-sell of accommodation to
       improve yield
      Focus sales and marketing on emotional appeal and experiences
      Build linkages with complementary offers in authentic Food & Drink.

3. Golf

Currently:

      Market is static at the Scottish level
      World class assets, and iconic imagery
      Golf tourists are relatively high yield

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      Ayrshire & Arran has the range of assets and products to appeal
       across all the main golfer profiles
      Related product elements sometimes diminish the experience, for
       example, accommodation
      Limited number of good practice examples of product packaging in
       place

Future: Our objective is to grow our share. Related actions:

      Focus international visitor development on growth markets in EU,
       China and India
      Sustain a broad-based approach that appeals across all the golfer
       profiles
      More and better packages, that are tailored around the golfer profiles
      Strengthen exploitation of golf “Majors” taking place in Ayrshire &
       Scotland, to promote Ayrshire & Arran as a golf destination
      Explore scope to develop links to Food & Heritage
      Assess potential to make more of events and festivals

4. Sailing

Currently:

      A growing market at the Scottish level, with demonstrated resilience to
       recent economic pressures
      A very strong product offering, with world-class facilities and events
      Excellent infrastructure, but with some capacity constraints
      Our assets and environment (scenery, islands, safe sailing waters and
       lack of crowds) align strongly to desired experiences
      Strong purchase patterns into food, accommodation, entertainment and
       retail
      Significant sailing events, including international standard and world
       championships
      Considerable product based around training.

Future: Our objective is to grow share, across all segments.          Related
actions:

     Develop dockside and on-shore facilities at main locations
     Work with stakeholders at sail-to locations to enhance facilities and
      increase overall activity levels
     Develop the related food & drink offerings
     Explore scope to expand related product areas, such as sail training
     Develop day-trip packages to offer experiences to non-sailing visitors

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     Assess existing events programme for opportunities to do more,
      develop on-shore elements, extend to other locations, appeal to
      additional visitor groups
     Review existing developments, such as Sailwest, to ensure pace of
      implementation is ahead of potential growth in demand
     Develop associated marine leisure activities, such as wind-surfing
     Develop tailored customer service improvement activities, including a
      focus on schemes such as Welcome ashore around key sailing
      locations.

5. Activities - walking, cycling and adventure sports

Currently:

      All segments growing at a Scottish level, adventure fastest, but from a
       low base
      Activity is concentrated in a few, relatively confined areas
      Cycling is currently an “add-on” for visitors, rather than a primary
       holiday choice in Ayrshire & Arran
      Walking becoming a significant part of the visitor economy, forecast to
       reach 22% of total revenue at Scottish level within strategy timeframe
      As with golf, there are a number of distinct walker profiles and current
       offerings are not well packaged or aligned to individual profiles
      Adventure sports is under-developed with limited offerings

   Future: Our objective is to maintain shares in cycling and walking, and to
   grow adventure. Related actions:

            Product development for walking and cycling, to package products
             more effectively for particular customer profiles
            Selective infrastructure enhancements, such as joining up paths
             and cycleways, working with communities
            Promote associated quality through VisitScotland “Welcome”
             schemes
            Encourage and facilitate collaboration amongst providers to
             overcome fragmentation
            Explore ways to attract more adventure operators into the area.

6. Day Trips

Currently:

      This is a static market at the Scottish level
      It is a very important part of the visitor economy, accounting for 62% of
       all visits to Ayrshire & Arran, worth £80 million of expenditure


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   The diversity of offerings in the area are central to our success, with
    the coastline and beaches, heritage and family attractions as strengths
   There are capacity problems in peak times at the main day-trip
    locations
   Visitor feedback is that they would like a greater variety of things to do,
    and want improvements in both retail and food and drink

Future: Our objective is to grow the visitor numbers but spread the
benefits across a wider range of locations during peak season and grow
off-season visitors.

Related actions:

   There is significant potential to cross-sell to the day visitor, especially
    into food & drink and retail, and familiarisation activities should be
    developed to address this and improve yield
   Specific initiatives need to be identified that address opportunities to
    convert into overnight stays, including the use of events and festivals
   Product development and associated promotion for the off-season,
    linked to further market research to identify specific product
    opportunities and timings
   Further development of options for poor weather
   Improved facilities and capacity at the main locations
   Develop stronger linkages between beach and town in key locations.




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7. Business Tourism

Currently:

      A small market for Ayrshire & Arran, despite the high-yield profile of
       business tourists
      The facilities available in the area need to be enhanced and there is a
       dearth of competitive facilities at the medium to large end of the market
      There is little active promotion to this market
      The market is changing, with greater use of ICT for conferencing
       purposes and an increasingly selective approach to purchasing
       meeting/conference venues
      There is a limited number of providers, mainly operating at the small to
       medium end of the market
      Ayr Racecourse is the largest single venue, but don’t have
       accommodation.

Future: Our objective is to grow our small conference activity and cross-sell
complementary leisure offerings to the Glasgow conference/convention
market.

Related actions:

     Develop a co-ordinated approach to targeting opportunities within the
      small conference market
     Work with existing conference and meeting venues to identify and
      develop cross-selling and packaging opportunities
     Explore scope to develop clearer propositions for marketing to the
      Incentives segment
     Assess the strength of current ICT infrastructure and potential to
      capture more business through developments such as high-speed
      broadband.

8. Weddings

Currently:

      This is a static market at the Scottish level
      Ayrshire & Arran performs very well, with a great range of award-
       winning venues for ceremonies and receptions, within close proximity
       to Scotland’s population centres
      There is already strong cross-selling, in part due to the planned nature
       of such events

Future: Our objective is to grow market share. Related actions:

     Explore scope for further product innovations

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     Review current promotional and packaging activities to identify
      opportunities to up-sell elements of the wedding packages, such as
      florists, photographers, and taxis
     Exploit strengths in specialist and independent retailers, linked to
      wedding planning activities
     Exploit the natural environment and heritage assets to promote
      Ayrshire & Arran as a wedding destination
     Develop promotional activity to target opportunities to extend guest
      stays and spend.

9. Young Families

Currently:

      This market is static/declining at the Scottish level
      Families are an important part of the day visitor market, representing
       some 40% of visitor numbers
      Although less significant as buyers of overnight stays, the “young
       families” segment is growing, with an interest in short-breaks
      The area has a wide variety of facilities for families, but quality is mixed
       and feedback is that more attractions are required

   Future: Our objective is to grow our share. Related actions:

            Develop good value packages that address core requirements for a
             versatile range of accessible, safe entertainment that meet the
             needs of specific age-groups and family lifestyles, including three-
             generation groups
            Explore scope to develop additional family-oriented visitor
             attractions into the area
            Review current sports and music events/festivals to appeal to a
             younger audience
            Investigate the scope to develop promotional strategies aimed at
             increasing repeat visits by families
            Encourage take-up of the Children Welcome assurance scheme.

10. Heritage

Currently:

      This market is static at the Scottish level
      A high-value segment for Scotland, estimated to be worth up to £1.5
       billion
      Ayrshire & Arran has a rich, diverse heritage, spanning many other
       aspects of our tourism assets including, of course, Burns


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      There is a strong link to rural areas, with heritage tourism a significant
       source of rural employment
      As with many other segments, there are issues around quality,
       accessibility, and packaging of product to offer appealing experiences
      There are many examples of heritage-related developments, such as
       “trails”, where further work is needed to fully complete the “product”
      Good links with other product areas, such as golf, genealogy and
       culture exist, but with scope for more to be done

Future: Our objective is to grow spend generated from this segment.
Related actions:

      Undertake further assessment of the most significant heritage
       offerings, from perspective of market potential
      Explore scope for improved packaging and promotion to niche
       customer groups
      Assess and improve the information provision and links that are
       available to the consumer to assist in planning trips and daisy-chaining
       while visiting
      Identify the most important related markets, such as golf, for further
       integration of heritage into their offerings
      Develop modern, contemporary elements as well as traditional,
       especially linked to wider arts and culture.

11. Islands

Currently:

      Arran is a stand-out asset, recognised widely as “Scotland in miniature”
      There is a range of islands that offer diverse activities, but perhaps
       some are hidden/secrets
      Strong associations with other product areas, although some are
       exploited more effectively than others

Future: Our objective is to grow visitor spend generated from island-related
activity. Related actions:

      Complete a detailed assessment of the collective islands offering,
       including how they link to visitor activities on mainland Ayrshire
      Explore scope to market as the accessible alternative to the inner and
       outer Hebrides
      Ensure fully reflected into the plans being developed around other
       segments
      Maximise the value of Arran’s clear identity and develop the inter-
       dependencies between it and mainland Ayrshire


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   Further consider how the sea is exploited as part of the islands offering
    for visitors




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12. Food & Drink

Currently:

      Food and drink is central to the visitor experience.
      Ayrshire & Arran has a range of top quality restaurants, food producers
       and farmers markets.
      “Taste of Arran” is a well-recognised and highly successful brand and
       business model.
      Customer expectations are centred on local, authentic, high quality
       produce, offered in ways that should significantly reinforce a distinctive
       and enduring regional character.
      At 16% of visitor spend; it is the second largest category of expenditure
       for the tourist. It has become a key part of the “entertainment”
       purchases that visitors will make.
      Overall the Ayrshire & Arran food & drink sector is fragmented and
       lacks cohesion, identity and brand.

Future: Our objective is to grow the food & drink sector and cross-sell it with
other product / activity offerings. Related actions include:

      creation of a clear identity and associated marketing for locally-
       produced quality products, that extends through to both retailers and
       restaurants
      further research and development of the food & drink related offering
       through festivals and events
      Improved product knowledge, awareness and recommendations to
       visitors from hospitality staff
      development of hand-on experiences in food production and cooking
       as an integral part of the visitor experiences on offer
      Wider development of associated products, such as farmers markets.
      Encourage tourism businesses to supply Ayrshire & Arran food & drink
       produce.




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F - OUR ENABLERS

1. Product Knowledge

      In the tourism sector, product knowledge needs to extend to a wide
       range of complementary offerings that can be cross-sold or up-sold, as
       well as a general knowledge of the area and its’ attributes.
      Visitors are receptive to, and appreciate, the recommendations of staff
       as a means of discovering the local “hidden gems” that enrich their
       experience and sense of authenticity.
      Their expectation is increasingly that not only will staff be well-
       informed, but that their pride and passion for all that is on offer will be
       evident and sincere.
      The level of knowledge amongst front-of-house staff is patchy and can
       be improved. Information-sharing mechanisms are inadequate.

Areas for action:

      Research successful approaches used elsewhere and bringing that
       experience back as learning for the development of an approach in
       Ayrshire and Arran
      Develop a single, widely recognised tourism business-to-business
       portal for uploading and sharing information and successful practices
      Create a clear identity and associated programme that unifies the effort
       across the sector……perhaps “Ayrshire & Arran – We Recommend
       You”
      Develop the welcoming and hospitality abilities amongst front-of-house
       staff, using a similar approach to the “Glasgow Service with Style”
       programme, delivered via trained local trainers from the industry itself
      Further development and expansion of familiarisation (“FAM”)
       activities, amongst local businesses, as well as with tour operators,
       travel trade press, and transport operators.

2. Skills

      At both UK and Scottish levels, considerable attention and resource is
       directed at the skills-related performance issues faced by the sector,
       with a Scottish Tourism Skills Strategy currently in implementation
       (2010-15).
      Many of the issues addressed in the Scottish strategy are reflected at
       the Ayrshire & Arran level
      Concerns in a number of core skills areas, such as communication, ICT
       and customer service
      A severe pressure on training budgets in the current economic climate,
       with difficulties in finding alternative ways to fund training

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       Some concerns about possible skills shortages, such as chefs, but
       more assessment is required before defining actions
      A recognition of the need to develop management skills and nurture
       exceptional leaders within the sector
      A prevailing negative perception of the industry, which is having a
       detrimental impact on career choice and attracting talent. These
       perceptions pervade those providing careers guidance, as well as
       existing amongst young people
      Strong local training provision is available, through networks such as
       the Ayrshire Colleges Consortium for Tourism Training


Areas for action:

      Improving the links between the industry and local schools and
       colleges
      Increasing awareness of the various funding support mechanisms
      Completing a more detailed assessment of where skills gaps or
       targeted skills development opportunities exist, and deploying tailored
       development programmes to address these
      Researching skills development approaches used successfully
       elsewhere, and adapting the best of these to the Ayrshire & Arran
       situation
      Exploiting the ACCT consortium of the main local training providers
      Promoting apprenticeships in the sector, as a means of attracting talent
       and developing career paths
      Making more use of volunteers who bring extensive sector experience
       and expertise, to mentor trainees.

3. Collaboration & networking

      The industry feels there a lack of joined-up activity – in terms of cross-
       selling of product and in terms of joint promotion and marketing
      The offering is fragmented
      This has the potential to leave visitors with a sense of disappointment
       and their expectations of their visit to Ayrshire and Arran unfulfilled.

Areas for action:

      Gaining a clearer understanding of the business support needs of
       tourism businesses
      An on-going programme of networking events and mechanisms, both
       face-to-face and online
      Encouraging individual businesses to initiate or join collaborations that
       will help drive growth


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      Exploit the existing Ayrshire & Arran Chamber Tourism Partnership, to
       identify and develop industry leaders to champion collaborative working
      A review of the potential to develop a tailored mentoring/facilitator
       programme
      Further development of the concept of “co-creation” to package product
       offerings in ways that create highly appealing experiences.

4. Accommodation

      Accommodation is the single largest element in visitor spend, at 32%.
      Targeted development in accommodation provision can play a
       significant part in growing market segments locally, for example the
       Auchrannie resort hotel for family holidays to Arran.
      There is a diverse range of local provision with exceptional high-quality
       top-end hotels and some major providers in segments such as
       caravanning & camping
      The current situation is one where the offering is patchy and lacks
       quality in pockets. Some areas appear to be under-served and lack the
       capacity to meet peak demand. Some market segments appear to be
       poorly served at present, for example, families.


Areas for action:

      Completion of an accommodation audit to identify specific areas of
       provision for development
      Raising awareness of the potential for rural diversification into tourist
       accommodation and associated activity provision
      Enhance accommodation provision where there are identified
       opportunities
      Where appropriate, develop specific propositions and actively pursue
       potential investors to address strategic gaps.

5. Information & communications technology

      If exploited effectively, Information & Communications Technologies
       (ICT) have the potential to improve business processes, better inform
       frontline staff, and enable enhanced service provision for Tourism
       businesses.
      For visitors, it can provide easy-to-use, accessible information that
       enables them to make good choices and customise their experience of
       Ayrshire & Arran.
      The current situation is characterised by a lack of a coherent approach
       to the exploitation of ICT, coupled with a lack of understanding of the


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       technology and the potential it has to support the development of
       sector performance.
      Investment levels are low, the on-line Ayrshire & Arran offering appears
       fragmented, content is not well-managed, and there is limited use of
       mobile and social networking capabilities, which are increasingly
       expected by visitors, especially younger consumers.
      Further analysis is required and the sector will require a clear
       assessment of the costs and benefits associated with any ICT
       investment.

Areas for action:

      Improving the range of skills development modules to enhance
       business understanding of the technology and its’ potential impact on
       business performance and customer experience
      Improving the provision of e-commerce advice within the existing
       business support services
      Exploring scope to improve rural broadband accessibility and develop
       superfast broadband, where feasible
      Making more effective use of core web technology, and focussing effort
       on existing consumer sites, including VisitScotland.com
      Exploiting social networking media
      Exploring the development of Ayrshire & Arran “App.s” that enable
       anytime/anywhere access to relevant information and transaction
       capabilities
      Developing the linkages between web-based information in a way that
       allows easily navigated, intuitive exploring of tourism options by the
       visitor.

6. Funding

      Many tourism businesses are under considerable funding pressures.
      These pressures may stem from a wide range of causes, but often
       related to the strength of market appeal and/or commercial
       management of the business.
      There is a constant challenge to manage the financial performance of
       the business in a way that generates sufficient returns to re-invest in
       development of facilities and markets
      There is reduced credit availability from banks, as well as inflationary
       pressures in some of the costs of running the business.

Areas for action:

      Assess the possible use of sector-based or geographically-based
       Business Improvement Districts

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      Maximise the exploitation of available EU funding programmes
      Raise awareness of potential options for use of commercial funding
       facilities for business investment and growth
      Making best use of sector-specific funds, for example, from
       VisitScotland and EventScotland, as well as funds that become
       available in relation to the specific Theme years leading up to the
       Homecoming in 2014
      Supporting commercial performance improvement initiatives, such as
       developing premium product offerings, making best use of cross-selling
       and improving yield
      Innovative funding mechanisms should be researched and evaluated
       for possible use.

7. Signage, Public Realm, and Cleanliness

Current identified issues are

      Lack of accessible toilet facilities for the visitor, or a lack of cleanliness
      Dirty streets, with litter, chewing gum and dog-fouling regularly
       identified
      Low quality retail and urban environments in many Ayrshire & Arran
       settlements
      Insufficient or inadequate signage, and other visitor orientation
       materials
      Parking difficulties in peak periods and inconvenient parking schemes
       in some locations
      A perception of unsafe urban environments, often attributed to drug
       and alcohol abuse
      Poor access and poor quality in parks and other urban green spaces.

Areas for action:

      Improved toilet maintenance and development of comfort schemes
      Better targeting of street cleaning operations at important visitor
       locations
      Assessment of the appropriateness of Business Improvement Districts,
       or similar, for town centres
      Liaison with Community Safety, Police, and town centre management
       for co-ordinated action on drug and alcohol issues
      Streetscape improvements, including signage, linked to town centre
       management operations
      Assessment of Council/retailer collaborations, to identify opportunities
       and develop initiatives to enhance particular retail locations



                                         21
      Improved provision of orientation information, such as maps and
       signage.

8. Transport Gateways, Routes & Connectivity

      Annually, tens of thousands of visitors travel into, through, and beside
       the Ayrshire & Arran area without stopping, or spending relatively small
       amounts of time and money.
      There are key “gateway” locations where visitors enter the area and get
       their first impressions of Ayrshire & Arran.
      Depending on the routes and modes travelled, there appear to be
       some connectivity and scheduling issues that constrain easy travel.
      Further analysis of the main transport and travel patterns is required to
       identify key issues that need to be addressed.

Areas for action:

      Identification of key “gateway” locations, for assessment of requirement
       for cosmetic/public realm works
      Assessment of signage from main arterial routes, leading into Ayrshire
       & Arran
      Exploration of scope/benefit that may arise from developing
       collaborative approaches with neighbouring areas, such as Dumfries &
       Galloway, and Ireland
      Consideration of Route Development Funding support at Glasgow
       Prestwick International Airport linked to strategic market opportunities.



9. Regulation

    Tourism businesses understand the role of regulation and are generally
     tolerant of the many aspects of “red tape” faced, but they are frustrated
     by aspects that are seen as unnecessarily complex, inconsistent and
     obstructive.
    Through the industry consultation activities, a wide variety of aspects of
     red tape were identified as making it more difficult for the sector to be
     successful.
    There was a strong belief that a more constructive approach by the
     relevant regulatory authorities could be very helpful to the development
     of the sector without undermining the original purpose of the
     regulations.
    Frustration, based on perceptions of inconsistency in approach
     between the three Ayrshire Local Authorities, inflexibility, slowness,



                                      22
       high charges, and a lack of joined-up thinking between different
       services within an individual Council.

Areas for action:

      Accelerated development of shared-service approaches such as PARS
       or agreed policy guidelines across the three Councils
      Awareness-raising      and     sector     familiarisation   for those
       services/agencies whose staff work directly with the sector
      Development of location teams, to enhance integration and joined-up
       approaches in town centres and other important locations
      Development of good practice guides that assist Tourism businesses
       navigate the regulations associated with particular activities, for
       example, planning and running events/festivals.




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G - MARKETING

Image & Brand

The development of a strong and instantly identifiable brand which conveys a
positive image of the area is essential to ensure that Ayrshire & Arran is
visible to potential visitors when making decisions to select one destination
above another.

      The area as a whole currently does not have a strong and instantly
       recognisable destination brand or distinctive sense of place.
      A new Ayrshire & Arran brand, to be used across a range of sectors
       including tourism, was developed with input from a range of public and
       private sector stakeholders and launched in 2010.
      The logo and associated strap lines have been adopted and used to
       varying degrees by public and private sector organisations over recent
       months, with reasonably strong “buy in” from businesses in the tourism
       sector - agreement on the future use and development of this brand is
       a priority.

Marketing and Communications

Effective marketing and communications is an essential component of
Ayrshire & Arran’s strategy to grow the economic value of tourism, as the
management function which provides the link between our tourism product
and potential visitors.

      Currently, marketing activity is undertaken in collaboration between the
       three Ayrshire Local Authorities and VisitScotland, pooling resources to
       deliver a range of marketing campaigns and activities on an annual
       basis.
      VisitScotland communicates with tourism operators across Ayrshire
       and Arran to offer a range of marketing opportunities for businesses to
       promote their products and services through an array of regional and
       national campaigns, websites, leaflets, brochures, PR and press trips,
       trade shows and exhibitions.
      VisitScotland undertakes a range of online and offline activity through
       this arrangement.
      VisitScotland delivers national marketing and PR campaigns which
       have international reach and provide benefits to Ayrshire’s tourism
       industry.
      In addition to this pan-Ayrshire activity, there is a wide range of online
       and printed marketing materials ranging from commercial websites and
       leaflets for attractions to micro-sites for festivals and newspaper
       advertising within Ayrshire itself.



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      The quality and effectiveness of these activities varies greatly but in
       general terms there is a lack of consistency and co-ordinated approach
       in the marketing messages about the area.

Action:

      A more co-ordinated approach to identify and prioritise target markets
       for Ayrshire & Arran’s tourism products and to provide a
       comprehensive marketing plan to position the area as an attractive
       destination for visitors.
      All marketing should reinforce an agreed brand identity and target key
       markets though online and offline media, making use of one consumer
       focused tourism marketing website as the ‘call to action’ for marketing
       activities.
      Align future coordinated marketing efforts with VisitScotland’s market
       segments and national campaigns to derive maximum benefit from
       VisitScotland marketing opportunities.
      A new pan-Ayrshire tourism marketing plan is developed to reduce
       duplication, provide a co-ordinated approach to marketing the area,
       and deliver measureable returns on investment (ROI) for the area
       which support economic growth of the sector.

H - GOVERNANCE

Governance

      Range of possible options including destination marketing organisation,
       destination management organisation, a single team approach, or
       improved co-ordination between the current separate operations of the
       three Councils
      Industry view that some form of unified voice and approach is important
      Important to link and influence work of range of partners
      Industry must be integral to delivery and governance
      Need to link to AEP, and through it, to Councils.

Performance Management

      It is recognised that there will be some measurement difficulties on
       aspects of the strategy implementation due to lack of availability at the
       Ayrshire & Arran level
      A framework of measures and milestone targets will be established to
       enable assessment of progress against our strategic objectives over
       the five years of the strategy
      Individual action-plan measures and monitoring routines will be put in
       place

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      We will utilise the wider performance monitoring arrangements that the
       AEP are using for progress across the five priority sectors.

Proposals:

      Consider a move to a single tourism team in Ayrshire, with offices in
       Ayr, Kilmarnock and Irvine, to allow fast and low cost progress on
       strategy delivery
      Review organisational model in three years time
      Adopt the governance structure as shown at Appendix 1
      Steering committee to include relevant Council Directors and Portfolio
       Holders as well as senior representatives from industry, the Chamber
       and partners.
      “Our businesses” includes both individual businesses and the wide
       range of groups that exist across the sector.




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Appendix 1 Proposed “Top-Level” Governance Structure




                                   Our Tourism
                                   Businesses


                      Support                         Feedback

                                “The Tourism Team”
         Partners                 Ayr, Kilmarnock,
                                        Irvine

                    Direction                        Accountability

                                                                        Ayrshire
                                Steering Committee                     Economic
                                                                      Partnership

                    Feedback                           Accountability

                                    Our Tourism
                                    Businesses




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