Orkney’s first ever Tourism Week is set to take place later this month, with the aim of informing and inspiring both local tourism businesses and the wider community.
Sponsored by Destination Orkney and Orkney Islands Council, the event represents the latest stage in an ongoing drive to ensure Orkney achieves its full tourism potential, while also carefully managing the destination.
A packed programme includes presentations and discussions on a wide range of tourism related topics, including updates on the UNESCO Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site, the Digital Tourism Scotland initiative, product development and sustainable tourism.
The Island Games, which will be hosted by Orkney in 2023, will also feature, along with sessions on archaeology for tourism, young people in tourism, cruise ships, cross sectoral collaboration, renewable energy, wildlife and the 2020 year of Coast and Waters.
Tourism Week officially gets underway in Kirkwall on Monday 26 November and will run until Wednesday 28 November.
The event is being immediately followed, on Thursday 29 November, by Destination Orkney’s annual Tourism Summit, set this year to focus on marketing and destination management. The Summit, at the Pickaquoy Centre, will also provide the backdrop for the launch of the 2019 visitor brochure, and will close with an industry dinner at the Kirkwall Hotel.
Kate Lewington, chief executive of Destination Orkney, said: ‘Tourism spend in Orkney is estimated at £50 million per year which directly or indirectly influences thousands of lives in the islands. It’s therefore vital, as we look at how best to sustainably build on this incredible success, that we engage with as many people locally as possible to help shape our future strategic plans for tourism in Orkney.
“Our aim, in creating this special Tourism Week, is to both showcase what’s happening locally in the industry to as wide an audience as possible, and to seek input and fresh ideas on how best to move the sector forward. Fundamentally, Tourism Week represents a re-think on how we as an industry communicate with the wider Orkney community, and we hope as many people as possible will seize this opportunity to get involved.”
Graham Sinclair, chair of Orkney Islands Council’s Development and Infrastructure Committee, said: “Hand-in-hand with attracting more visitors to Orkney we want to encourage dispersal of visitors across all our tourist sites, including to our island communities which each have something unique to offer.
“Tourism Week is one way we’re working with partners to build on the good work already happening in tourism locally. It’s an important event and we’d encourage all involved in tourism, from accommodation providers to tour operators, retailers and visitor attractions, to come together and learn from each other about enhancing Orkney’s offer.”
Cheryl Chapman, Visit Scotland’s development manager in Orkney, added: “This important event shines a light on Orkney tourism and how it is being developed and delivered for the benefit of communities, businesses and visitors. We are delighted to be taking part to share details of our forthcoming themed year of Coast and Waters 2020 and deliver a session on developing products for the tourism market.”
Full details of all the Tourism Week events, and how to get involved, are available on the event website.
Tickets for the Tourism Summit dinner at the Kirkwall Hotel on 29 November, open to anyone who would like to attend, are available from Destination Orkney by email or call 01856 230300.
Destination Orkney Ltd is Orkney’s destination management organisation, representing membership of more than 500 tourism businesses. The industry group is a key player in a partnership of Destination Orkney, Orkney Islands Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Visit Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage, which is leading a dynamic strategy and focused approach to tourism management to realise the maximum benefit for Orkney.