The discussion on tourism in Nairn last Tuesday in Kinguisse at the meeting of the area committee didn’t last too long but it was pretty much straight to the point beginning with Liz’s intro to the topic:
“I asked for this paper to come to the Area Committee as it has been several years since tourism has been considered in detail by local members. It’s a pity that already a local tourism operator has made negative comments about the report, however we’re going to try today for a positive outcome.”
Liz continued and a little later she said: “I believe the best thing we can do to generate and increase tourism is to better market the area, promote our fantastic natural environment and develop a plan that is deliverable perhaps with the support of a jointly funded project officer. We need to prepare for Leader funding which will be available from the end of 2014 or into 2015 which has an economic tourism focus and we should be able to take proposals off the shelf that we want to drive forward; be it for improved facilities, activities or events and at the end of the discussion I would like to propose a fourth recommendation that we agree to arrange a tourism and leisure services ward forum for Nairn to see if we can bring together all the parties with the aim of preparing an action plan that could be delivered.”
The debate that followed lasted little more than twelve minutes but a much more interesting debate will no doubt get underway whenever the date is set for the ward forum in Nairn.
Before the Councillors said anything the author of the report, Colin Simpson, spoke. What he had to say included the following, citing initially the Cairngorms Business Partnership and then: “Where there is a bigger critical mass of businesses this destination development approach has started to evolve and we are seeing that in a number of places in the Highlands and we’re not seeing the same approach in Nairn at the moment. As I tried to say in section 3.3 that's not to say that there aren’t things happening in Nairn – far from it but people tend to be delivering specific projects through a group that works just on that project and I take the Book and Arts Festival as one example of that but we don’t have this more holistic approach. That may not necessarily be the right thing for Nairn. I think it’s wrong for us to say you should approach everything in exactly the same way in all the areas of the Highlands and Nairn is very different in scale. I’m also very conscious that if you take out three or four major businesses in Nairn who tend to be the sort that do their own direct marketing you’re left with a fairly small core of businesses and that can also make things more difficult in terms of how you approach things.”
To hear what our local councillors had to say and the Badenoch and Strathspey members too go to this webcast page and click on item 6 in the timeline. The Nairn Tourism report is also available here.
The area committee have invited Alan Rankin, the Chief Executive of the Cairngorm Business Partnership to the Nairn ward forum on tourism, they were very impressed by his earlier presentation which can be seen on the same webcast page, this time item 4 in the timeline. Serious students of tourism may wish to watch that to see his briefing which was highly orientated on what his organisation does via the Cairngorm Partnership website and its satellite offshoots. An interesting ward forum meeting will take place at some time in the New Year then.