• VisitAberdeenshire delivered 36 webinars, with 773 attendees
  • Delivered 232 tailored one-to-one sessions
  • 52 product development sessions, leading to 30 new products

VisitAberdeenshire has published a look back at 2021/21 in its latest annual review.

Throughout the most challenging of years for the tourism sector, VisitAberdeenshire concentrated on adapting its marketing and development activities to meet rapidly changing circumstances.

Spearheading VisitAberdeenshire’s work during the last year was its Business Recovery Programme, a pioneering multi-strand programme that helped local hospitality and tourism businesses build resilience in an increasingly uncertain market.

The programme was geared towards business needs, with themes including digital marketing, interpreting customer and market insights and advice to develop new products and experiences.

Chris Foy, CEO, VisitAberdeenshire said: “The recovery programme has been the talismanic project of the last twelve months, giving industry some much needed guidance and steer, delivered by our tourism development team alongside industry experts from across the UK. Our work in this space continues, as we look to implement another wave of activity in the coming months.”

“In addition, our marketing plans were re-shaped, retargeted, paused, then reactivated, and our endeavours to secure long term business from tour operators and conference organisers adapted as normal routes to market were closed. This continues to be a team effort across the region, with tangible outcomes demonstrating the value of the continued support for tourism from Opportunity North East and our two local authorities”

Jennifer Craw, chief executive, Opportunity North East said: “In what has continued to be a challenging time for the tourism sector the role of VisitAberdeenshire, together with Opportunity North East’s continued investment has been essential to support recovery and drive longer-term growth.

“The combined focus of a comprehensive and highly relevant recovery programme, together with ambitious transformational projects, will ensure the region emerges as a thriving, sustainable tourist destination that offers an exceptional visitor experience, delivers business growth and creates new jobs.”

Cllr. Peter Argyle, deputy leader of Aberdeenshire Council said: “The past eighteen months have been exceptionally challenging for the whole of the tourism industry and the North East has not been immune from the effects. As we emerge from the pandemic rebuilding this important sector is a key priority for Aberdeenshire Council and for VisitAberdeenshire.

“There are opportunities as well as challenges and we all need to work together to develop the former while facing up to the latter.

“Tourism forms a significant part of the Aberdeenshire economy and VisitAberdeenshire’s role in developing the sector and bringing its expertise to bear in supporting local businesses is and will be, hugely important.”

Cllr Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokeswoman said: “The annual review makes for really encouraging reading and as one of VisitAberdeenshire’s main funders, we are really pleased with the outcomes it highlights particularly with the imaginative use of online technology to build new products aimed at helping the tourism sector which plays such a vital role in the local economy.

“Aberdeen City Council has used similar approaches to maintain our cultural offering with hugely popular events such as Granite Noir switching to an online format this year and maintaining digital access to our libraries and our award-winning Art Gallery throughout the most challenging of periods. It is great that we and our partners are all pulling together to ensure that innovation lies at the heart of the post-pandemic recovery which will provide as many opportunities as it presents challenges.”

VisitAberdeenshire is funded by Opportunity North East, Aberdeenshire Council and Aberdeen City Council.

Pre-pandemic, direct tourism expenditure in the North-east contributed more than £730m to the local economy every year, supporting almost 18,500 jobs across nearly 1400 diverse businesses.

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