Wester Ross selected for EU Tourism project
Against stiff competition from areas across Europe, Wester Ross in the Highlands has been selected to be part of a European tourism project to help the area measure, monitor and enhance the sustainability of its tourism management.
The European Tourism Indicators System for Sustainable Management at Destination Level (ETIS) was launched by the Tourism Policy Unit of the European Commission in 2013 as a tool to help destinations in measuring and monitoring their sustainable tourism performances. It is one of seven initiatives set out in the tourism strategy launched in 2010 for the development of sustainable, responsible and high-quality tourism in Europe.
The system is designed to be used by tourism destinations without the need of any specific training so simple and flexible, it will assist tourism groups and businesses in Wester Ross develop opportunities and plan ahead for their future. The wide range of benefits of taking part for the area will include:
· Improved data for informed policy decision making
· Establishment of an intelligent approach to tourism planning
· The prioritisation of action projects
· Enhancing the visitor experience
· Identifying areas that need improvement
· Increasing value per visitor
· Managing risks effectively and
· Creating benchmarks to measure performance
The Highland Council’s Tourism team have been working with Visit Wester Ross to secure participation in the European project and Wester Ross is the only Scottish area included.
Chairman of The Highland Council’s Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Thomas Prag said: “Nowadays all tourist destinations are called to tackle social and cultural, economic and environmental key challenges so being able to effectively measure their sustainable performances has become essential.
“I am delighted that all the hard work and perseverance to join ETIS has paid off. Tourism is vital to the economy of the Highlands and many other areas of Europe are competing for the same markets and customers as ourselves. We have to make sure we are ahead of the game and I believe our involvement with the project will certainly help us to do this.”
With active support from The Highland Council, the Visit Wester Ross group will be establishing a local stakeholders group involving local organisations and individuals with an involvement and interest in the tourism industry, to take the project forward.