The biosphere team are working on a Destination Management Plan (DMP) for Wester Ross as part of their Sustainable Tourism project in the Biosphere. To this end they have been gathering evidence over the past year on visitor expectations/experiences, the volume and value of tourism and the cultural/natural heritage of the area that our visitors come to see.
During the workshop staff from the Wester Ross Biosphere will feedback what they have learnt to identify priorities for tourism in Wester Ross in the coming years; based on what can be realistically resourced as a partnership made up of public sector, community and business.
What is the Sense of Place workshop?
Dr Laura Hamlet, SHAPE Project Officer says "we’re keen to come and do a workshop with residents in Garve and Achnasheen to understand more about what its like to live there, what makes it special and what they want for tourism in the area and the places they would be keen to highlight to visitors and the places they would like to keep a secret!"
The purpose is to develop a clear message about what Wester Ross is, why it is different/special/unique and where we want to send tourists or not. Monmouthshire, who undertook similar work identified that if visitors can connect with and develop an affinity for a place, then they will spend more time money at the destination, aswell as generating repeat visits and sharing this feeling with friends.
Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere did this too and they say its helped to:
Improve the welcome and local knowledge of frontline tourism staff and business stakeholders
Add value to local products and services, as well as helping to develop new products Provide inspiration for education, interpretation, and the creative arts
Bring communities together and reconnect people with their landscape
Generally strengthened the identity of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire brand