Talking tourism in Perthshire

Representatives from tourism businesses across Perthshire attended a free tourism conference today, during which they heard from an exciting line-up of speakers on a range of topics, including Trip Advisor, the Year of Young People (YoYP) and V&A Dundee.

The half-day conference was part of Perthshire Talks Tourism 2018 and held during Scottish Tourism Month (STM). It explored the potential opportunities offered by STM and beyond, with useful hints and tips and relevant information for tourism businesses. It was managed by Perth & Kinross Council and VisitScotland on behalf of the Perthshire Tourism Partnership (PTP).

2018 celebrates the YoYP, which aims to inspire Scotland through its young people – celebrating their achievements, valuing their contribution to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally.

Around 10 youngsters from the Travel & Tourism class at Crieff High School in Perthshire attended today’s conference to learn more about the subject, to assist with facilitating the event, which was held at Dunkeld House Hotel, Perthshire, and to join in the networking opportunities by speaking to businesses.

The annual conference saw delegates being welcomed by PTP Chair, David Smythe, and there were also opportunities for them to network during the event.

They also heard from Jane Ferguson, Director of Audiences & Media at V&A Dundee and Deborah Newman, Director of Visitor Operations, who both spoke about Developing V&A Dundee and the Visitor Journey.

Jane has over 20 years’ experience in audience development and marketing and has launched major developments at Scotland’s leading visitor attractions including Stirling Castle, Urquhart Castle and the National Museum of Flight. Deborah has over 15 years’ experience in managing commercial, visitor and building operations at some the UK’s most iconic attractions, including The London Eye, Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Zoo and the Houses of Parliament.

Chelsea Charles, Themed Years Communications Manager at VisitScotland, then spoke about 2018, the Year of Young People and the many opportunities this provided to tourism businesses.

Justin Reid, Head of Destinations at Trip Advisor, also spoke to delegates about how destinations can maximise their presence on the world’s largest travel website, to ensure people have the best holiday they possibly can.

Conor O’Sullivan, Social Media and Community Manager at VisitScotland, also addressed attendees, speaking about the benefits an influencer can bring to the customer journey.

Jim Clarkson, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, said: “I am delighted that so many businesses attended the Perthshire Tourism Conference today and hope found the event both interesting and insightful.

“This region has so much to offer the visitor and I hope that the conference helps provide a boost to tourism in Perthshire and the local economy. It is also important to inspire the next generation to consider a career in tourism by showing them the opportunities that exist.

“Tourism is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy, causing a ripple effect which touches every industry and community, creating employment and economic growth. Scotland’s reputation as a quality destination relies on continued investment and innovation to ensure that current provision meets future demand. Every visitor must get a quality experience every single time.”

David Smythe, Chair of PTP, said: “We were delighted to again be helping organise this popular annual conference, which provided a great opportunity to hear about key tourism and social media developments, identifying how they can benefit Perthshire tourism businesses.

“A line-up of top class speakers, workshops and networking opportunities provided businesses with motivation, ideas, and inspiration. I was pleased to see young people also taking part in this year’s event as it is important that we inspire the next generation to consider tourism as a potential career path.”

PTP brings together tourism businesses from across Perthshire and public sector partners. The group, which meets quarterly, developed a Perthshire Strategy and Action Plan for the region, in line with the Tourism Scotland 2020 industry strategy to stimulate economic growth.

Events such as this provide a platform to bring together industry – to collaborate, network, share information and inform businesses about the work undertaken by the PTP.

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