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A Plus and A Minus For Moray Tourism

3rd February 2021

The Plus

A three-year project to restore confidence and resilience in Moray's tourism sector, has secured £350,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The project, by strategically important destination management organisation Visit Moray and Speyside (VMS), will deliver a series of initiatives aimed at inspiring, enabling and delivering destination recovery.

It will reach across and beyond traditional sector and geographical boundaries, and encourage collaboration among businesses, communities, public and third sector partners.

Two new full-time equivalent jobs will be created in VMS. The group will provide support, advice and signposting to communities looking to improve conditions for visitors.

It will help tourism businesses to make sure they have the skills and knowledge to rebuild their operations, access new markets and embed resilience in their approach.

There will be specific engagement with food and drink producers to work with operators in showcasing Moray's natural larder to a worldwide audience, while event organisers will be encouraged to work together to create new, out of season events delivering maximum benefit for communities and visitors.

The HIE funding is from £3m approved by the agency in September 2020 to support strategically important tourism destination management organisations (DMOs) over the next three years, as part of wider support for the tourism sector's recovery.

Angie Smith, HIE's head of business growth in Moray, said:

"Tourism is central to the local economy in Moray and a vital source of rural employment. Visit Moray and Speyside provides valuable co-ordinated support for the sector, tailored to the specific needs of tourism operators in the area.

"These businesses will become even more reliant on VMS in bringing about recovery in our tourism sector. We need to make sure the group has sufficient resources to be as effective as possible in delivering this important strategy, and that’s what this funding is about.

"We look forward to working with VMS and our tourism businesses to achieve a successful and sustainable recovery the sector."

Jim Davis, Chair of Visit Moray Speyside and owner of outdoor activities operator Ace Adventures, said:

“Tourism in Moray Speyside had been growing year on year prior to the onset of COVID-19, with 2019 seeing the highest ever number of visitors to our region and operators anticipating an even busier year in 2020. HIE’s investment will enable Visit Moray Speyside to significantly increase its work ‘on the ground’ throughout the region with communities, businesses and sector groups, working together to get tourism back on its feet and equipped to face the future."

The Minus

Covid: Fears for up to 30 jobs at Baxters in Fochabers - BBC

Food firm Baxters could close its restaurant and retail outlet in Moray with the loss of up to 30 jobs.

The Fochabers-based business - famed for its soups and preserves - has a Highland Village visitors centre in the town.

Baxters said the coronavirus pandemic had "exacerbated the already challenging trading conditions".

It has begun a consultation process with employees regarding the potential closure.

'Untenable future'

As well as producing soup, chutney and preserves, Baxters runs the food village which includes a shop, restaurant and museum.

It is usually a popular visitor attraction, with busloads of tourists regularly stopping there.

However, Baxters said the pandemic had left its future "untenable".

The company has been built up from a cottage industry into an international food group.


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