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Moray Chamber of Commerce to deliver Tourism in Moray and Speyside area

[ 18-03-2014 ]

Under the umbrella of the Moray Economic Partnership, Moray Chamber of Commerce have agreed to incorporate a tourism development section for Moray Speyside within its wider remit.


Tourism generates over 10% of Moray’s total employment and 3.8% of the total turnover of businesses.  It is a major part of Moray’s economy - roughly equivalent to the former RAF base at Kinloss.  Unfortunately wages and salaries in the sector are much lower than average; likewise the Gross Value Added per employee.  The potential for growth of the sector is clear.  The aim therefore must be not only to increase the volume of tourism, but also to increase the GVA generated and the wage levels, in order to enable recruitment of high quality staff and retention of employees. 


Visitor spending in Moray is in the region of £85m-90m per year.  This compares with figures of £330m-335m for Argyll, £300m for Aberdeenshire.  Moray’s tourism is considered to be underperforming, so there is both the opportunity and the need for significant improvement.


In addition to companies such as Baxters, Walkers, Johnstons and the internationally known whisky brands, Moray Speyside  has much to offer visitors.   Our countryside is perfect for activities such as canoeing, orienteering, walking  - including the circular Moray Way, Speyside Way and Davaway – cycling and mountain biking to name just a few and we are home to nearly 20 golf courses catering for beginners to those with low handicaps.


The Moray Firth coastline is listed 26th of 99 Top Rated by National Geographic and although dolphins can be seen throughout the Moray Firth, Spey Bay is home to the WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre and today Nair beach is listed in the top 10 beaches in the UK by Trip Advisor.


Ballindalloch and Brodie castles are open to the public and Elgin Cathedral is now part of the Castle to Cashmere Heritage trail.


We have proved that we can run very successful events such as Speyside Whisky Festival, Speyfest and Piping Hot Forres and 2015 will see us host the World Orienteering Championships but if visitors are made aware of the other Moray Speyside attractions perhaps they can be encouraged to extend their stay or turn an overnight stay into a weekend break.


The more enjoyable the visitor experience the more likely they are to recommend it to their friends and colleagues either verbally, through social media such as Facebook or web sites likeTrip Advisor.   Through sponsorship by Highlands & Islands Enterprise seven pilot World Host accreditation customer service training sessions for those in the tourism or retail sector are being held covering all of Moray Speyside.   Following on to this it is hoped to encourage everyone in the industry to have their front facing staff participate and to achieve Moray Speyside as a World Host Destination.


We have many great assets but groups and companies need to work together to maximise the economic, social and cultural benefits of tourism and spread the benefits across all sectors of the community.