A new campaign which supports tourism businesses in delivering the sector’s ambition to grow by £1bn by 2020 has launched today in Edinburgh.
‘The Big Five Questions’ invites businesses across Scotland to ask themselves questions relating to their customers, online presence, performance and productivity. Relevant advice, tools and support from the initiative’s partners have been gathered together to help businesses tackle these areas of their business with the overall objective of strengthening the sector.
The initiative, created and hosted by the Scottish Tourism Alliance, has been a collaborative undertaking with the key public agency partners involved in the tourism sector, including VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland, Business Gateway and the Scottish Government.
The Big Five Questions focus on the themes of ‘Your Customer’, Your Digital’, ‘Your People’, ‘Your Costs’ and ‘Your Voice’, and provide quick links to the most appropriate advice around issues such as improving a business’s efficiency, investing in staff training or strengthening an organisation’s online presence.
The five questions are based on the findings from the recent Mid-Term Review of the national tourism strategy, Tourism Scotland 2020. With an industry comprising of thousands of businesses the length and breadth of the country, the campaign aims to translate these findings into achievable actions for businesses and provide quick and easy links to the broad range of advice and support available.
As highlighted in the TS2020 Mid Term Review, the tourism industry has considerable room for growth up to 2020. Although 2016 has been a strong season for Scottish tourism, Scotland remains a relatively high cost international destination and the recent uncertainty over the future of the UK economy, trading conditions and Scotland’s international reputation means that, more than ever, it is important that tourism businesses offer the best service and experiences they can.
Also being launched today is the refreshed Skills Investment Plan for Scotland's tourism sector which, tying in closely with TS2020 and the Your People theme, sets out the tourism industry’s updated skills priorities and actions, and the Tourism Business Improvement Academy which supports greater efficiencies and sustainable growth across tourism organisations.
Scotland’s tourism strategy has a vision ‘to make Scotland a destination of first choice for a high quality, value for money and memorable customer experience, delivered by skilled and passionate people.’
Since its launch, hundreds of tourism businesses, associations, organisations and individuals have been involved with projects and initiatives to drive the change needed to achieve the TS2020 vision, with full support from all key public agencies and the Scottish Government.
It is hoped the campaign will encourage more tourism businesses to get behind the strategy, help drive growth in their own organisations which will collectively strengthen the sector’s position as the main economic driver for Scotland.
Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said; “We are delighted to launch The Big Five Questions which highlights the considerable amount of support and advice available to tourism businesses across our agency partners. We often hear that people do not know where to look and this campaign aims to bring the most relevant information together in one place – the Scottish Tourism Alliance website. We will be using the questions to shape our communications over the next year and are encouraging every tourism group and organisation to help us promote the initiative to others in the industry and help make it easy for businesses to access the right support for them. As an industry, we continue to face many challenges and unknowns post-Brexit and engaging in The Big Five Questions right now is the most effective way to help businesses prepare for the future so we can collectively strengthen and grow Scotland’s tourism industry for 2020 and beyond”.
Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs said; “The contribution of tourism is vital to the continued success of Scotland’s economy and every business – large or small – must play its part. The “Big 5 Questions” is a simple, yet effective, way of making this happen, as well as an excellent example of the value of the public and private sectors working together to drive Scotland’s success.”
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive VisitScotland said; “Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Tourism is more than a holiday experience. It creates jobs and sustains communities in every corner of Scotland all year round and is at the heart of the Scottish economy. The industry’s 2020 strategy aims to generate economic growth for Scotland through tourism, with all partners working in support of this ambition. The Big Five Questions gives businesses throughout the country an excellent focus on how, together, we can grow the sector by £1 billion over the next few years.”
Stephen Williamson, Senior Tourism Executive, Scottish Enterprise said; “The aim of The Big Five Questions is to prompt businesses to consider the areas where they might need to develop and for them to feel that they can quickly access support that will really make a difference to their business performance. With so many support options out there, it’s important that tourism businesses feel that their particular needs are understood and addressed – the industry continues to face many challenges and Scottish Enterprise would urge the industry to connect with the campaign and stay ambitious with their growth ambition.”
Chris Taylor, Head of Tourism, Highlands and Islands Enterprise said; “This campaign by the Scottish Tourism Alliance will help many tourism businesses take some simple steps to help win more business. The HIE Tourism webinars for example are a great place to start for businesses who want to know how to use digital technology better. They are completely free and available to everyone.”
Lawrence Durden, Tourism Industry Manager, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) said; “The Big Five Questions reflect many of the themes at the heart of the new Skills Investment Plan for Scotland’s Tourism Sector. Tourism businesses of all sizes need an increasing array of skills to boost growth and innovation, from enhancing the visitor experience to making use of new technologies. SDS is committed to working with employers across the sector and with industry partners including the STA, to ensure Scotland’s tourism industry can take full advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.”