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A three-year project to rebuild the tourism sector across Argyll and the Islands has secured £350,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), and aims to create new jobs.
The £350,000 funding comes from £3million approved by HIE in September 2020, to support strategically important tourism destination management organisations (DMOs), as part of wider support for the sector’s recovery.
The project, by Argyll and Islands Tourism Co-operative (AITC), will deliver a series of initiatives ‘aimed at inspiring, enabling and delivering destination recovery’, HIE said.
‘It will encourage collaboration among businesses, communities, public and third sector partners, and will create 6.5 new full-time equivalent posts within the group itself.
‘AITC will provide support, advice and signposting to communities looking to improve conditions for visitors. It will also help tourism businesses to make sure they have the skills and knowledge to rebuild their operations, access new markets and embed resilience in their approach.’
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.’
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.’