A campaign to transform Moray Speyside into a world-class destination will advance today when “crucial” plans for the region’s tourist industry are submitted to the Scottish Government.
Once approved, tourism businesses will be asked to vote on the proposals in a postal ballot, which will run for six weeks from December into January, 2020.
The initiative has been launched to make the Moray area the second Tourism Business Improvement District or TBID in Scotland.
The scheme would move funding away from reliance on the public sector and put it into the hands of the companies who stand to benefit from attracting more visitors.
Local tourism businesses would be asked to pay a moderate annual levy and be run by a board of elected directors, who would manage the funds – while potentially accessing investment not currently available to Moray Speyside Tourism or local firms.
So far, more than 100 businesses in the sector have already expressed support for the campaign, although there has also been criticism of the plans from a few companies who have expressed concerns about having to pay a levy.
Laurie Piper, operations manager for Moray Speyside Tourism, has been the catalyst for the proposals and describes them as pivotal in preparing for the future.
He said: “This marks a crucial milestone in our campaign to maintain Moray as a world-class tourist destination by bringing control of spending on tourism marketing into the hands of local businesses themselves.
“We face strong competition from other parts of Scotland, who are heavily promoting themselves to tourists and funding for Moray Speyside Tourism is coming to an end.
“A TBID is the perfect alternative as it allows businesses to control a collaborative funding pot, choosing where and how to invest their money.”