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Tourism Strategy RefreshResponse: By The Tourism Innovation Group

DescriptionResponse to the Tourism Strategy dialogue document by the Tourism Innovation Group.
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateJuly 01, 2005


    April 2005

    ISBN 0 7559 1130 X (Web only publication)

    This document is also available in pdf format (61k)

    Tourism Innovation Group log


    General Comments
    Strategic Recommendations
    Restructuring of public sector support
    Other issues
    Future of Scottish Tourism
    Appendix A: Sustainable Tourism - A definition


    Views on refreshing of the Executive's tourism strategy for Scotland

    The Tourism Innovation Group response

    The Tourism Innovation Group ( TIG) formed in 2002 as a private sector leadership group to profile and promotes innovation across the Scottish Tourism Industry. It comprises business leaders and established entrepreneurs from across the sector. TIG's vision is to be the driver of long term strategic change in Scottish Tourism

    The vision: " To meet our ambition of 50% revenue growth for Scottish Tourism by 2015, our vision is to make Scotland a must visit, must return destination, where meting and exceeding our visitor's needs, our internationally competitive tourism sector makes a strong contribution to economic growth in every part of Scotland"

    TIG's General Comments:

    Although not specifically requested to comment on the vision or strategy TIG believes wishes to comment on important aspects of the review.

    1. To improve take up TIG recommends that in future the vision is developed even more with industry involvement and engagement, rather than a "top down" approach.
    2. TIG questions whether 50% revenue growth is genuinely aspirational taking into context global competition trends.
    3. TIG is not clear on how measurement of progress will be made; development of appropriate KPI's from the outset is essential.
    4. TIG recommends that tax revenue from all tourism should be calculated, so as to better understand and promoted the overall economic value of the industry.
    5. TIG recommends that attitudinal surveys would be of more value if conducted independently of the industry agencies.
    6. The introduction of the Challenge fund initiative is welcomed by TIG although this appears to be under-budgeted and accessibility could be improved to a wider range of groups and organisations
    7. TIG believes that TNS will create a more effective holistic approach to the marketing of Scotland and servicing of visitors, and supports this significant development.
    8. TFFA did not fully engage businesses and engender their involvement and commitment. There was no serious "buy in" and a reflection of the ambitions within business planning and operations. The revised strategy needs to achieve this. Communication and engagement are really key issues.


    TIG recommends that the strategy priorities be simplified under two main headings: Marketing (incorporating e-tourism) and sustainability (incorporating Quality, skills, accessibility and sustainability) A definition of sustainability in tourism terms is attached at appendix A and we comment in detail under the two headings in sections below. Before addressing this response in the context of the questions raised in the consultation, we first wish to raise new, strategic issues which are considered material for the long term development of Scottish Tourism. TIG's role is to be a "power house" of innovative, strategic thinking - it seems entirely appropriate for us to introduce some creative and material issues for consideration.

    Strategic recommendation 1

    Customer empathy with the client journey. We are aware of new approaches to better understanding the consumer (eg the IDEO corporation) and designing products and processes in a more effective, customer-focused way (eg IDEO Corporation). With Pride and Passion as the customer champion, there has never been a better time to explore this fresh thinking and consider adopting entirely new ways to profile and probe our customers.

    Strategic recommendation 2

    Sponsorship and commercial involvement - we believe that there may be significant opportunity for making much better use of commercial sponsorship at every level within tourism. We propose new thinking around this area, involving international expertise in reviewing the assets we might leverage and fresh approaches to adopt.

    Strategic recommendation 3

    Industry Funding. Our investigation into examples of "best practice" overseas indicate that communities who have financial resources at their disposal tend to be active, involved and effective. In an industry reliant on public sector involvement, what additional sources of funding are available to local groups, and how can industry engagement in this process be enhanced? Various opportunities need careful consideration, among these the potential role of local tourism levies.

    Strategic recommendation 4

    People and skills. There needs to be completely new thinking around this area - focused on providing clear, simple industry leadership that is co-ordinated and straight forward for business. We must remove the clutter and confusion that is perceived, as a wide range of differing organisation engage in this activity. With Pride and Passion as the clear customer champion, we require a strong Employee champion. Is this People 1 st, and should all other support agencies "fall in behind" the leader?

    With new thinking around a truly "joined up" approach, another example of strategic change might be common acceptance of a single, national "route to excellence". Hospitality Assured may provide just such a standard.


    Question 1Is there more that could be done to improve the marketing of Scotland?

    Question 2 What more can be done to meet the challenge of e-commerce?

    TIG considers E tourism as a function of Marketing

    1. TIG recommends that culture and heritage should also include food and whisky as key marketing opportunities.
    2. TIG recommends that the marketing budget should fully consider the benefits of redirecting budget to the winter months as done in other countries with a winter climate close to Scotland.
    3. TIG believes that any benchmark marketing against competitors should use an independent external agency.
    4. TIG believes E-marketing is more diverse than visitscotland.com and that e marketing Scotland should engage with the many e-sales channels and not solely VS.com.
    5. Resource should be directed towards businesses so as to web-enable more and more areas and sectors.
    6. TIG wishes to see the debate of commission v advertising cost based engagement between business and VS.com
    7. TIG recommends that visitscotland.com and the financial model that supports the organisation has not yet got industry support in respect of not-for profit or as a commercial operator. This is restricting industry buy in to VS.com which is not helpful and as a result is currently restricting sales of Scottish tourism products and services.
    8. More resource should be made available to web enable smaller businesses.

    Sustainability issues including Quality and Skills

    Question 3What more can be done to raise our game and improve quality throughout the industry?

    Question 5 How can we overcome the problem of skills gaps?

    Question 6 How can we improve recruitment and retention of staff in the industry?

    1. Acknowledgement of Pride and Passion initiative in the paper is welcomed by TIG.
    2. TIG recommends that QA should measure "the experience". This approach supports the new thinking around Pride and Passion, revamped provision of the national training framework and our strategic imperative linked to new understandings of the customer journey.
    3. TIG recommends that in order for QA to be effective this should be out sourced genuinely independent from VisitScotland
    4. TIG wishes to see clarity regarding the role of VisitScotland in respect of training.
    5. TIG believes that quality and skills agenda should be more effectively co-ordinated


    Question 4Is there more which should be done to better join up public sector support for the industry?

    1. TIG recommends that VisitScotland should offer more financial support to destination management initiatives (not leading them, but rather engaging with initiatives and supporting private sector leadership in an open, constructive way).
    2. A supportive relationship between VisitScotland and Local Authorities is needed in order to maximize value from expenditure and best serve visitors.
    3. Public agencies/local authorities at all levels must commit to the Tourism Strategy, and be constantly tasked to work in strong, collaborative partnership.
    4. TIG believes that there is still a need to make it easy for tourism business to understand the public sector ( e.g. - Colour coding initiative introduced by P and P).
    5. TIG wishes to see the industry being given a clear opportunity to feed into a meaningful debate in respect of the development of future legislation that impacts on tourism business.
    6. New realism around the costs to business in the application of growing tides of rules and regulation (Scottish Executive, Westminster, Europe - layer on layer, and ever expanding).
    7. TIG wish to raise the very real issue of the impact of a standard minimum wage in various parts of the country, where there are very different local rates applying (eg South East England vs Highlands of Scotland) .


    Question 7What else can be done to improve access to Scotland, particularly to remoter areas?

    1. TIG gives its strong support to the route development initiatives and respects all that has been achieved by the Executive and partners in the significant expansion of Scottish air routes to/from Europe.
    2. TIG believes that sustainability is a key issue, particularly in rural Scotland. Addressing tourism related access/transport issues will become a growing priority
    3. TIG Suggests joining up Traveline and all bodies/ integrated ticket system. More can be done to speed up the introduction of integrated ticketing and journey planning systems.
    4. TIG wants to look at the public transport links between ferries, rural communities and islands, not on an ad hoc basis but as a Scotland-wide strategic initiative.
    5. Transport and infrastructure are one of the biggest barriers to entry in many markets, not just in tourism but in industry as well, we are interdependent for mutual success.
    6. Better roads better rail affordable train journeys that get to markets and back fast, ie you waste _ a day travelling from Inverness to EDI or GLA


    Question 8 Where will your key markets be coming from in 10 years?

    Question 9 What markets should Scotland is focusing on?

    Question 10 Are there niche markets which you will be aiming to target?

    1. More emphasis should be given to tourism as an export sector that generates export revenues for Scotland.
    2. Effort in attracting and retaining UK business must not be compromised for the sake of overseas growth.
    3. VisitScotland Scenario Planning Group focuses on future needs and the research needs to be explained to whole industry

    Appendix A

    Sustainable Tourism - a definition:

    Sustainable tourism in its purest sense is an industry which attempts to make a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate income, employment, and the conservation of local ecosystems.

    It is responsible tourism which is both ecologically and culturally sensitive.

    Increasing evidence shows that an integrated approach to tourism planning and management is now required to achieve sustainable tourism. It is only recently that there has been a growing recognition of the importance of combining the needs of traditional urban management (transportation, land use planning, marketing, economic development, fire and safety etc.) with the need to plan for tourism.

    Unfortunately, in so many destinations, the short term approach prevails, with architects and developers' plans coming before local communities, environmental concerns (especially water consumption) and employee development.

    Some important principles of sustainable tourism development:

    Sustainability is the starting point which generates 2 strands - if you like it is the overarching vision and mission - to generate all year round tourism which allows business to develop sustainable practices, employment contracts, skills, training and quality.

    • Tourism should be initiated with the help of broad-based community-inputs and the community should maintain control of tourism development. It should not be developed and managed from afar.

    • Tourism should provide quality employment to its community residents and a linkage between the local businesses and tourism should be established. The locals should do more than just clean up after the tourists, and be badly paid for their tasks.