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The Oban and Lorn Tourism Alliance has backed a VisitScotland film urging Scots to take breaks closer to home this summer.
It is part of a £3 million marketing drive to welcome back Scottish tourism after nearly four months of lockdown restrictions imposed after the coronavirus pandemic.
It encourages Scots to appreciate what’s on offer in their own country as tourism was permitted to reopen from Wednesday July 15.
Linda Battison, marketing director for OLTA, said the alliance had also launched a local visitor charter, which would start to appear as posters in local businesses.
The aim is to encourage those returning to the area to observe social distancing, be considerate, maintain hand hygiene and wear face coverings, among others, with the hashtag #ObanMinded
The charter has been backed by BID4Oban and Oban Community Council against a backdrop of ‘nervousness’ about an influx of visitors following the outbreak.
Ms Battison said: ‘It will take all of us working together to keep our visitors safe. There is understandable nervousness in the community and it’s up to us to remind our guests that they have a responsibility to uphold the guidance to keep our area Covid free.’
Of the new film by VisitScotland, she said Oban was a perfect distance from the central belt to provide a full ‘get away from it all’ experience without having to drive all day.
‘And the journey is through such beautiful iconic scenery as you hug the shores of Loch Lomond and Loch Awe, so it’s a fantastic start to a holiday,’ she said.
‘We’ve so much on offer in Argyll and whilst not all businesses will immediately reopen the majority are totally ready and many are already signed up to the UK-wide ‘Good To Go’ scheme so visitors can feel confident that they’ve taken every step to welcome them back safely.’
The film by VisitScotland has the clear message that ‘Only in Scotland can travelling so little make such a big difference’.
The campaign is backed by 10 weeks of advertising across STV, Channel 4, ITV and SKY, along with a six-week campaign on radio and digital channels.
Vicki Miller, marketing director for VisitScotland, said the film celebrated the reopening of tourism.
‘The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the industry, and we’d like to encourage people across Scotland to get out there and support businesses in any way we can,’ she said.
‘This film celebrates the huge variety of activities we have right across the country, showing you don’t have to travel too far to have a fantastic experience.
‘Alongside this though, it’s important we respect that tourism might not look the same as before, but the warm Scottish welcome remains.
‘We ask that people follow the recommended guidelines, book in advance and respect the local communities so there’s something to enjoy for everyone.’
Fergus Ewing MSP, tourism secretary, said: ‘It’s been an extremely tough period for Scotland’s tourism sector but thanks to everyone’s efforts in suppressing the virus, we are now at the stage where we can warmly welcome visitors once again.
‘VisitScotland’s marketing campaign will be instrumental in encouraging people back to our hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions.
‘Our country has so much to offer and I hope people in Scotland take this opportunity to book a well-deserved break, and support our world-class tourism industry in turn.’