Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  


Online Programme Puts Community Leaders At Heart Of Destination Development

24th September 2021

Community representatives from across Scotland are taking part in an online programme to help shape the future of local tourism destination management.

The three-month online Communities Leading in Tourism course, which starts on Tuesday 28 September 2021, is designed to boost tourism sector expertise and destination leadership skills.

More than 20 participants are signed up. They are involved with development trusts and community organisations from across Scotland - from Shetland in the Highlands and Islands, to Langholm in the South of Scotland. All are keen to support local social and economic recovery in response to COVID-19, and to develop and deliver sustainable facilities, events and attractions that benefit communities and visitors.

The Communities Leading in Tourism course is part of the Scottish Tourism Leadership Programme. Its aim is to bring the community and tourism sector together to maximise local tourism opportunities. It's delivered by the Social Enterprise Academy on behalf of the Scottish Government, HIE (which is the lead agency for the course), South of Scotland Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland.

Steven Dott, HIE's senior development manager for tourism, commented: "Participants work with tourism industry professionals to explore destination management, and to look at how they can shape opportunities for local communities and visitors. This is the fourth cohort of our programme, and current and previous participants help each other through a Scotland wide Communities Leading in Tourism network."

Nessie Gearing works with Gairloch and Loch Ewe (GALE) Action Forum, a community owned, charitable, development trust and social enterprise which delivers key local services including running a community hub which houses a community cafe, gift shop and tourist information service.

Her role is to deliver the tourist information and retail services, maximising the local benefit from tourism and encouraging visitors to slow down and get the most out of their visit.

She commented: "GALE provides the only tourist information centre in the area and has done so for the last 18 years. Over 100 local businesses use the centre to promote their services and on a normal, non-Covid year around 30,000 visitors come through the door. Tourism is a huge part of our economy and through my role I want to spread the benefits across more local businesses and into more parts of our community, encouraging a better distribution of visitors and spend throughout our community.

“This programme is coming at the perfect time. As an organisation we want to own, manage and control more tourism opportunities locally, building local wealth and re-investing this into living standards, community services and infrastructure for a better more sustainable future."

Lara Porter is the new Operational Development Manager for the Upper Eskdale Development Group, which transformed the Old Primary School in Eskdalemuir into a community hub. It provides a cafe bistro, gallery, community shop, therapy and consultation rooms and accessible playground.

She commented: “The timing of this course could not be better. We want to develop a long-term strategy for the hub which offers the best benefits for locals and visitors. I’m really looking forward to exploring various aspects of destination tourism with the specialist course leaders and other participants.”

Sarah Russell is Development Manager with community interest company Giraffe. The enterprise’s cafe and professional kitchen in Perth delivers great food and offers opportunities for those facing barriers in Perth and Kinross to gain work experience, independence and confidence through a programme of supported activities.

She commented: “This is an amazing opportunity to learn and grow not only for the organisation, but also for the local community. I am hugely passionate about inspiring current and future generations to be proud of our area. Whether it’s highlighting opportunities for young people and communities, encouraging visitors to spend more time in the area or helping to bring together businesses - tourism offers a wide range of chances to invest and grow employment, business and community.”

Applications for the next cohort, starting in January will open in October.


Related Businesses


Related Articles

Rachel Hunters Blog - Rewarding Fair Work And InnovationThumbnail for article : Rachel Hunters Blog - Rewarding Fair Work And Innovation
A healthy, wealthy and inclusive society starts with a happy employee, writes Rachel Hunter, HIE's director of service delivery There's no doubt that people do a better job when they're happy in their work.  They're more committed, more productive, and more innovative.  
HIE Recruiting Fresh Talent To Shape Region's Prosperity
Search for for school leavers and recent graduates who want to make a difference to the future of the region.   The agency is looking for school leavers and recent graduates who want to make a difference to the future of the region.  
£3.2m For Food And Drink Tech Hub
TechHUB is part of the Northern Innovation Hub (NIH), a £14.2m initiative delivered by HIE under the Deal, which focuses on developing innovation in small and medium sized businesses in the Highland Council area.   The funding approval includes costs of refurbishing Fyrish House at Teaninich Industrial Estate in Alness, a building owned by HIE, where the TechHUB will be housed.  
Funding Available For Ambitious Young Businesses In The Highlands And IslandsThumbnail for article : Funding Available For Ambitious Young Businesses In The Highlands And Islands
The third round of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) Young Business Capital Investment Grant (YBCIG) is now open to companies.   The third round of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) Young Business Capital Investment Grant (YBCIG) is now open to companies with up to 250 full-time equivalent employees.  
New HIE Board Members
The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy, Kate Forbes MSP, has announced the appointment of four new HIE Board members.   Dr Keith Nicholson, Ailsa Raeburn and Anna Salgado began their term on 13 June and Simon Cotton will start on 1 April 2023.  
International Focus On Cromarty And Moray Firths To Create A Floating Offshore Wind Port Cluster In Scotland
The main target of this international initiative under the DIT's High Potential Opportunities (HPO) programme is to attract inward investors from across the globe to help manufacture the main components for future floating offshore wind projects.   The focus for this inward investment from global companies of scale will be the Scottish Floating Wind Port Cluster.  
Region's Businesses Visit Orkney To Boost Food And DrinkThumbnail for article : Region's Businesses Visit Orkney To Boost Food And Drink
Ten representatives of businesses from member organisation Shetland Food and Drink included Shetland Fisherman's Association, Whalsay Made and Shetland Reel Gin.   Eight representatives from Food from Argyll and two from Bute Kitchen joined the collaborative visit to Orkney including Mull Cheese, Argyll Coffee and IslayCocoa.  
Space-themed Stem Activity For Secondary School Pupils Launches In HighlandThumbnail for article : Space-themed Stem Activity For Secondary School Pupils Launches In Highland
Scotland's space industry is undergoing massive growth, and the Highlands and Islands are at the forefront.   Commercial spaceports that will put satellites into low Earth orbit from Sutherland and Shetland have received planning permission and their development is well underway.  
Highlands And Islands Supply Chain Showcased At All-energy 2022
All-Energy is back for its 21st anniversary and the first face-to-face event in two years.   In conjunction with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the region's businesses will exhibit on the HI-energy pavilion, which once again will host the largest regional presence at the show.  
Agencies Help Businesses Be More Environmentally CompetitiveThumbnail for article : Agencies Help Businesses Be More Environmentally Competitive
HIE and Scottish Enterprise (SE) teamed up to run the project, aimed at helping companies meet the growing requirement to accurately forecast their environmental impacts.   The two-month pilot recognised that environmental impact is increasingly becoming a deciding factor in a company's overall attractiveness to investors and customers.