Be a tourist in your own home town

Friends arrive at the Bridge of Orchy railway station in the village of Bridge of Orchy on the West Highland Line. VisitScotland / Luigi Di Pasquale.

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With spring, longer days and Argyll and the Isles preparing for the traditional start of the tourism season, VisitScotland regional director, David Adams McGilp looks ahead to what we have to look forward to across the region and how to best to enjoy it.

‘There is cautious optimism in the air across the local tourism industry just now. After a lot of uncertainty, the industry is preparing for what is hoped, for many, to be the first full year of trading since the pandemic.

‘It’s been a difficult few years and while the current economic situation will bring some fresh challenges for all, there is a general desire from both visitors and businesses to return to some kind of normality. It’s great to see people venturing out and supporting their local tourism businesses.

‘From top-class attractions, award-winning food and drink, exciting events, high quality accommodation providers and breath-taking scenery, tourism is a vital part of our region’s economy, valued at more than £440 million to Argyll and Isles, Helensburgh, Loch Lomond and Dunbartonshire pre-pandemic. It attracts creates jobs, sustains communities and enriches our lives.

‘One of the things I would urge everyone to do this year is to be a tourist in their hometown. There is no better way to understand the value of the industry and its appeal than to take in what’s on your doorstep. Following one or more of the five Taste of Place Trails in Argyll is an excellent way of supporting local producers and suppliers and celebrating the region’s hospitality offering. Or try your hand at Pedaddling – hiking, biking and kayaking trails on Scotland’s Adventure Coast.

‘Tourism brings many benefits which is why its responsible recovery is so important. But things can’t and won’t be exactly as before. Tourism is evolving. It’s about more than travel. It’s about building forward and creating better places for people to live and visit by managing our economic, environmental and social impact.

‘We all have a duty of care to protect the natural, social and cultural assets which make and Argyll and Isles so special.

‘The Outdoor Adventures Guide, created by social enterprise Love Lochs and Landscapes, is a free booklet for families to help them enjoy the great outdoors responsibly.

‘VisitScotland want to make sure we help people know what to expect before they explore Scotland so look out for our new campaign Keep Scotland Unspoiled – across local radio and online. In it we will offer some great advice about how to keep Scotland unspoiled when out and about. This dedicated activity supports wider work by VisitScotland and our partners to address irresponsible behaviour at some local areas.

‘We really want visitors to ‘know before they go’ when it comes to travel; checking what is open and how busy places are before they make a trip but also encourage them to think about things like water safety, littering, camping and following the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Being a responsible tourist and respecting and protecting our environment and communities makes for a better experience for everyone.’