About

Argyll and the Isles Tourism Co-operative Ltd (AITC) is the strategic Destination Management Organisation for Argyll & The Isles on the West Coast of Scotland.

AITC was formed in 2012 as a cooperative with its membership being the local marketing and sectoral groups – representing in the region of 1200 business interests. AITC is supported by VisitScotland, Argyll and Bute Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, NatureScot and Forestry & Land Scotland, CalMac Ferries, Scotrail and West Coast Motors. 

We work at a local and national level promoting Argyll & the Isles as a must visit destination to domestic and overseas markets and build capacity within our industry.

Argyll & the Isles extends to 690,000 hectares and is the second largest area in Scotland, after Highland. We sit immediately to the west of the city of Glasgow and as well as a vast mainland area with numerous peninsulas we have 23 inhabited islands, each with their own identity and culture.  Our coastline is over 3,700km long and 80% of our population live within 1km of the coast and 96.5% are within 10km of the coast. Just over 17% of our population live on our islands.

By working together since 2012 we have created a strong place brand presenting our destination as Scotland’s Adventure Coast.

 

Our destination organisations cover: Mull and Iona; Tiree and Coll; Islay, Jura and Colonsay; Oban and Lorn; Kintyre and Gigha; Inveraray, Kilmartin and Knapdale; Bute; Cowal and Loch Lomond and the Clyde Sea Lochs.

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Recovery And Growth Strategy

Argyll & the Isles Strategic Tourism Partnership 

Visitor Economy Strategy 2022 – 2025

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AITC Performance and Economic Impact

AITC is influencing policy decisions affecting the wider area and is recognised as the strategic delivery partner by the Argyll & The Isles Strategic Tourism Partnership.

The Cooperative has pulled together partnership funding for core costs, capacity building, product development and marketing exceeding £1.8 million between 2011 and 2020.

An independent assessment was undertaken late in 2016 to review AITC and tourism growth over the previous five years. This assessment reviewed Government statistics and concluded that Argyll & the Isles had comprehensively out performed Scotland as whole in terms of tourism growth in recent years and that AITC had a positive impact on the economic well-being of Argyll & The Isles.

AITC’s efforts to raise the branded profile of the region were highlighted together with our achievements in providing leadership, organisation, governance and facilitating investment in people. AITC also leveraged its core funding by a factor of 4 over this period. (source GHRL, Dec 2016). 

Since 2016 tourism performance continues to be measured based on STEAM data which is provided annually to Argyll & Bute Council.

STEAM quantifies the local economic impact of tourism, from both staying and day visitors, through analysis and use of a variety of inputs including visitor attraction numbers, tourist accommodation bed-stock, events attendance, occupancy levels, accommodation tariffs, macro-economic factors, visitor expenditure levels, transport use levels and tourism-specific economic multipliers.

Year on year tourism performance in Argyll year on year is presented in terms of :

  • Visitor numbers per year
  • Visitor days per year
  • Direct expenditure (£m) per year
  • Economic Impact (£m) per year
  • Total employment (FTEs) per year

While growth cannot be attributed to AITC alone, GHRL in 2016 stated that it would be difficult to argue that had AITC not existed, then tourism performance in the region and the economic benefits which have accrued would have been the same as the record shows.

Economic Impact of Tourism

Source: STEAM model

THE BOARD

As of January 2022, the AITC board currently consists of of the following directors:

ELECTED 

Iain Jurgensen – Portavadie (Chair)

Emma Clark – Glenegedale House (Vice-Chair)

Andy Roger– Cameron House

Fiona McPhail - Carry Farm / Tighnabruaich Sailing School

Calum Ross - Loch Melfort Hotel

Robert Kidd - McKinlay Kidd

Ewan Colville - Love Argyll

Graeme McFall - The Hollies

HONORARY CHAIRPERSON

Gavin Dick – Inverary Jail

CORE TEAM & SUPPORT PERSONNEL

Cathy Craig is the CEO, in post from August ‘21

Lara Ehmler & Shannon Mackenzie provide membership & marketing services

Daniel MacIntyre manages our website & technical capability

We are supported by a number of Freelancers for individual project and community work;

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AGENTS

Our network of Community Engagement Agents provides in-destination support

Oban & Lorn - Karen MacCorquodale

Cowal & Bute – Ciorsdan Taylor

Helensburgh & Clyde Sea Lochs – Sarah Frood

Mid Argyll – Heather Thomas-Smith

Isle of Bute - Nicola Jones

Kintyre & Gigha – Iain Johnstone

For general visitor enquiries, contact info@wildaboutargyll.co.uk

Jean Ainsley of Ainsley Smith and Co, 21 Argyll Square, Oban, PA34 4AT, provides accountancy services. 

AITC has a team of freelance development agents who have been working with our members to grow capacity at a local level. For contact information for the individual local agents please email admin@wildaboutargyll.co.uk

 

Creative Downloads

We love to share our creative assets with our partners and businesses so we can collectively use and share to promote Wild About Argyll. Download a range of creative assets for your own business use. It's good to share.

Access all you need for the main Wild About Argyll brand, our latest Extra Mile campaign, and West Coast Waters collaboration campaign.

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