New jobs at tourism group after HIE funding

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More than six jobs are being created at the Argyll and Islands Tourism Co-operative.

It follows £350,000 in funding being awarded from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The project seeks to help rebuild the tourism sector across Argyll and the Islands by providing support to businesses.

Led by the AITC, which is a destination management organisation, the roles will help deliver a series of initiatives aimed at ‘inspiring, enabling and delivering destination recovery’.

It will encourage more collaboration among businesses, communities, public and third sector partners. It creates 6.5 new full-time equivalent posts within the AITC.

AITC will provide support, advice and signposting to communities looking to improve conditions for visitors.

The project aims to ensure tourism businesses have the skills and knowledge to rebuild their operations, access new markets and embed resilience.

Morag Goodfellow, HIE’s area manager for Argyll and the Islands, said: ‘Tourism is so important to this area, for the local economy and for rural employment.

‘It is also one of the sectors that has been hardest hit by the pandemic. It’s important we do all we can to help the industry recover and that’s what this funding is about.

‘AITC provides valuable co-ordinated support for businesses and communities involved in providing visitor services.

‘Our funding is about making sure the group is as effective as possible in rebuilding the sector post-Covid.

‘We look forward to working with AITC and our tourism businesses to make the project a success.’

Iain Jurgensen, chairman of Argyll and the Isles Tourism Cooperative, said: ‘Tourism in Argyll and the Islands had been growing year on year prior to the onset of Covid-19.

‘HIE’s investment will enable AITC to significantly increase our work ‘on the ground’ throughout the area, with communities, businesses and sector groups, working together to get tourism back on its feet and equipped to face the future.

‘We are excited to be leading this project for the area and look forward to continuing our partnership and collaboration with HIE.’

The HIE funding will support two key areas of activity; product development and community engagement.

It is from £3m approved by HIE in September 2020 to support ‘strategically important’ DMOs as part of wider support for the sector’s recovery.