MSP to launch new tourist information service in Argyll

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Published Date: 

24 Jan 2012 - 09:42

Michael Russell MSP for Argyll and Bute, and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, will be in Lochgilphead today, Monday 23rd January, to officially launch a new tourist information point in the town’s Fyne Tackle shop.  An unique partnership between the Heart of Argyll Tourism Alliance, Argyll and Bute Council and VisitScotland has resulted in the creation of a new ‘i–point’, and provides a welcome solution for visitors to the area following the closure last year of the local VisitScotland tourist information office (TIC).

Launched less than a year ago, the Heart of Argyll Tourism Alliance (HOATA) and its members are working towards increasing awareness of the area and growing tourism so when public sector cut backs forced the closure of the Lochgilphead TIC, the marketing group approached Argyll and Bute Council and VisitScotland to try and reach a solution for information provision.

Local business owners and members of HOATA, the MacGilp family of Fyne Tackle agreed to host a VisitScotland-branded information point within their shop, which already attracts tourists throughout the year in search of quality fishing equipment and outdoor clothing and accessories.  The i-point was installed earlier this month and will be operational from today.

Michael Russell MSP said: “It is a great pleasure and privilege to be asked to open this much needed facility. But it is here not just because it is needed but also because the local marketing group knew it was needed and showed great determination and enterprise in getting it established.

I am glad that the various partners have come together to make it happen because tourism is a vital industry for all of Argyll - including its heart!   Making sure that those who come here are welcome and informed not only improves their stay but makes them want to come back.”

Argyll and Bute Council Provost and Chairman of the Argyll & Isles Strategic Tourism Partnership William Petrie said: “I am delighted to be part of the launch of the new HOATA VisitScotland Visitor Information Point in Lochgilphead.  This innovative solution to visitor information has, in large part, been due to the work by the Heart of Argyll Tourism Alliance.  Together with Fyne Tackle they have shown how important it is for the public and private sectors to work together to achieve a shared ambition.  Tourism is extremely important to Argyll and Bute.  Approximately fifteen percent of jobs in our area are tourism related and the innovative approach that’s been taken today shows how successful partnership working can be.  Together we make sure that not only do we deliver but can sustain jobs in our area.

“I would like to wish the Heart of Argyll Tourism Alliance and Fyne Tackle every success in this venture and I am delighted that Argyll and Bute Council and VisitScotland were able to be a part of it.”

Andrew Wilson, Vice-Chair of HOATA and owner of The Square Peg, said:

“Since we launched less than a year ago, we have been trying to raise awareness of the Heart of Argyll and encourage as many local businesses as possible to get involved and work with us to promote the area.  From today’s announcement, you can see that we’re not just about marketing or having a website; as a cooperative we provide a strong combined voice for tourism businesses in the area.  When we realised the TIC wasn’t going to reopen last Spring, we were compelled to do something about it and today the fruits of our efforts can be seen.  Who better to offer this service than HOATA Members, the MacGilp family at Fyne Tackle who know this area like the back of their hands?”

In the photo are: 

Left to right front row: David Adams-McGilp, Michael Russell MSP, Argyll and Bute Council Provost and Chair of Argyll & Isles Tourism Partnership William Petrie, Neil Mackay, Argyll and Bute Council Alliance of Independent Councillors, Spokesperson for Enterprise, Energy, Culture and Tourism, Archie MacGilp Snr owner of Fyne Tackle

Notes to News Editors:

1.       The Heart of Argyll Tourism Alliance (HOATA) is a cooperative comprising local tourism businesses who are working together to better promote the area to visitors.  HOATA was officially launched by VisitScotland Chairman, Mike Cantlay, in March 2011, and its members and supporters have been working on a voluntary basis to raise awareness of the area among its target audiences.

2.       The Heart of Argyll covers the area known as Mid Argyll, loosely bounded by Ardfern, Inveraray, Tarbert, Loch Fyne, and the Sound of Jura.  It incorporates some of the most scenic parts of Scotland’s west coast, from the picturesque fishing village of Tarbert in the south to Loch Craignish in the north, over to Kilberry, Knapdale and Crinan in the west and across to Inveraray in the east.   

For further information or pictures please contact Joanne Kerr on tel: 07801 953557

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