Frequently Asked Questions
We love being asked questions about Wild About Argyll (the brand name for Argyll & The Isles Tourism Cooperative 'AITC') and how your business or organisation can be part of it. So, we've created a series of frequently asked questions to help you with queries, but if there is anything still left unanswered we'd love to hear from you. Just email the team and we'll get back to you.
FAQs About Us
How is ‘Wild About Argyll’ (AITC) funded?
AITC collects membership fees and receives funding support from many agencies and partners with Argyll & Bute Council and HIE providing the core funding, supplemented by support from VisitScotland Growth Fund, Calmac Ferries and Scottish Natural Heritage. Additional funding is also sourced on a project by project basis from Forestry Commission, Scottish Canals, Sustrans and key travel partners.
Over the period from 2012-2020 AITC drew in funds totalling £2m. The COVID recovery period of 2021 - 2024 is a crucial time and AITC has secured a funding package of £1.2m for our recovery planning and delivery tied to a significantly enhanced digital marketing investment and activity.
How is ‘Wild About Argyll’ (AITC) governed?
The Argyll & The Isles Strategic Tourism Partnership was set up in 2009 and following a summit event in Oban in 2011, Argyll & the Isles Tourism Cooperative was set up as the delivery vehicle for all strategic tourism campaign, product development and industry communications activity.
AITC was established as a cooperative with its membership being the 12 local marketing groups operating in each area of Argyll and the Isles plus sectoral associates (Food from Argyll and laterally CHArts). It was entirely industry based and has represented in the region of 1200 business interests at regional and national forums. In 2020, AITC entered a transitional year wherein it was clear a new operational model was required in light of public agency cut backs, which triggered the AITC board to decide to introduce a direct membership structure to help address its future sustainability. AITC currently has a volunteer board consisting of 7 directors representing destinations in Argyll.
How do I contact the ‘Wild About Argyll’ team?
For contact information for individual local agents please email firstname.lastname@example.org
FAQs About Membership
What membership rates do you offer and what is the criteria for different the membership types?
Can anyone join ‘Wild About Argyll’ or do you have to be a tourism business?
We firmly believe tourism is everyone’s business and therefore welcome all businesses based in or who do business in Argyll to support our work and contribute to the economic growth of tourism and the local economy.
How do I renew my membership?
Membership is paid via a monthly Direct Debit, and continues automatically until cancelled.
I am a member of my local DMO, so why should I join ‘Wild About Argyll’?
DMO’s deliver a very important ‘in destination’ role for visitors and their members. AITC recognises this crucial contribution to the tourism industry. However, our outstanding region also requires a strategic organisation to deliver services for its members by providing economies of scale and a pan Argyll outlook. AITC secures external funding to coordinate and deliver programmes of training (e.g. World Host, Digital Tourism Scotland), product and business development, networking, strategic presence at VisitScotland's EXPO and other travel trade events. Your membership of ‘Wild About Argyll’ importantly supports our industry to reach wider audiences outside the scope of local DMO’s, and as a result, contributes to the growth of tourism in Argyll. Between 2012- 2020, we drew in funds totalling £2m, representing an exceptional return on investment for all our partners. Looking forward, we have secured a £1.2m budget for the next 3 years to strategically drive forward our recovery post COVID, and your membership is a crucial cog in the wheel.
My DMO has a micro-site so I don’t think I have to join ‘Wild About Argyll’?
We firmly believe there is value in being both a member of a local DMO and ‘Wild About Argyll’, given the very different roles we provide tourism businesses operating in Argyll. Please take a look at page 10 of our Membership Pack for a clear comparison of the various benefits available to all our members.
Our outstanding region requires a strategic organisation to deliver services for members by providing economies of scale and a pan Argyll outlook. AITC secures external funding and uses this to attract additional funds to coordinate and deliver programmes of training (e.g. World Host, DTS), product and business development, networking, strategic presence at VisitScotland's EXPO and other travel trade events.
In a drive to become more sustainable, it was necessary for us to launch a new membership model in 2020. Your member businesses can now also join ‘Wild About Argyll’ and support our industry to reach wider audiences outside the scope of local DMO’s, and as a result, contributes to the growth of tourism in Argyll.
In addition to the benefits DMO’s offer to their members, direct members of ‘Wild About Argyll’ can benefit from a business landing page entry on the ‘Wild About Argyll’ website, participation in member chat forums, access to product development and networking events and much, much more.
I am a member of ‘Food From Argyll', so why should I join ‘Wild About Argyll’?
Sectoral groups deliver a very important role for visitors and their members. AITC recognises this crucial contribution to the tourism industry. However, our outstanding region also requires a strategic organisation to deliver services for its members by providing economies of scale and a pan Argyll outlook.
AITC secures external funding to coordinate and deliver programmes of training (e.g. World Host, DTS), product and business development, networking, strategic presence at VisitScotland's EXPO and other travel trade events. Your membership of ‘Wild About Argyll’ importantly supports our industry to reach wider audiences outside the scope of local sectoral groups, and as a result, contributes to the growth of tourism in Argyll. Between 2012- 2020, we drew in funds totalling £2m, representing an exceptional return on investment for all our partners. Looking forward, we have secured a £1.2m budget for the next 3 years to strategically drive forward our recovery post COVID, and your membership is a crucial cog in the wheel.
I have one very popular self-catering cottage, why do I need to join ‘Wild About Argyll’?
‘Wild About Argyll’ is contributing to the growth of tourism in Argyll (between 2011 and 2019 Argyll and The Isles experienced 23% increase in visitor days 32.3% increase in visitor numbers and 25.8% increase in direct expenditure), reaching a wider audience than any business or DMO can alone, and inspiring them to visit, and hence book your accommodation. If we all work together, everyone will benefit from the increase in visitors.
Do you offer direct booking opportunities on the ‘Wild About Argyll’ website?
We currently offer direct bookings on the ‘Wild About Argyll’ website via Free to Book and hope to very soon introduce Super Control bookings.
I don’t use FreetoBook or SuperControl, can I still promote and get direct bookings through the Wild About Argyll site?
At the moment, our ‘Wild About Argyll’ site is working with Free to Book and scoping out Supercontrol. Our funding programme for 2021-24 with £62.5k budget just approved by VisitScotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is for digital and market readiness activity which will contribute to the on-going development of our website. We will keep exploring to find the best partners to work with to facilitate direct bookings on ‘Wild About Argyll’.
I don’t have a business, can I join AITC to support your work?
Yes please! We would welcome the support. Friends of AITC, non-income generating charities, community trusts and organisations plus individual local residents can all join for an annual fee of £60, or if you prefer, contribute a voluntary amount.
Does ‘Wild About Argyll’ have a chat forum for members?
Yes. When you join ‘Wild About Argyll’ you will invited to join our ‘Signal’ chat forum (similar to What’s App), where members can ask questions, chat to other members and keep up to date with recent developments.
Do you have a B2B website?
We do not currently have a B2B website but have plans to develop very soon.
Do you provide opportunities for members to meet up and network?
Pre-COVID we organised an annual AITC Summit for our members. We are soon appointing a new network of local agents within each of the regions 9 areas. They will spend a day a week working with local groups and organisations to help better integrate their offer and to help raise awareness of the value of tourism to rural communities. The community agents will work with community groups and organisations engaging them in product development, branding and marketing initiatives, which will contribute with networking opportunities and collaborations.
Our Signal chat group gives members a direct opportunity to network with members and our fortnightly online networking event aims to build product awareness and facilitate collaborations between businesses.
Does my membership fee have an investment return or multiplier effect?
Your membership fee contributes to the wider funding package which has achieved significant multipliers for our strategic partners and tangible benefits for our industry. For example during 2021 - 2020 , A&BC investment in AITC’s core costs of £420k had a return on investment of 21.
Besides marketing, what else does AITC provide to members?
Aside from marketing, AITC provide a host of member benefits:
- We provide support and leadership to the tourism industry in Argyll & The Isles and provide specialist advice on marketing, PR, product development and capacity building.
- We have a strategy for growth – previously Tourism Argyll & The Isles 2020 – and met the agreed targets and are now setting a new strategy with a focus on continued growth in tandem with meeting responsibility targets linked to community and environment.
- We are the delivery vehicle for strategic partners in Argyll through the Argyll & The Isles Strategic Tourism Partnership and also work together on policy and strategy development.
- We provide networking opportunities to members via our Signal chat forum, FAM trips, annual Summits (COVID permitting) and online fortnightly networking events.
- Since 2016 we have facilitated 620 participants attending 70 Digital Tourism Scotland Courses and 526 individuals from 180 businesses becoming accredited in World Host Principles of Customer Care.
- AITC is an active member of the Scottish Tourism Alliance which influences policy decisions such as rates, VAT, airport duty and any policy decision government make and its effect on tourism and indeed lobby for positive change to assist in the growth and value of the tourism economy, its importance now and in the future to Scotland PLC.
- AITC is an active member of the Rest and be Thankful task force looking at representing tourism businesses, residents, employees and visitor experience in terms of lobbying for timely and permanent solution.
- AITC is an active member of the Argyll and Bute Economic Recovery Forum making sure the voice of Tourism and its opportunities as well as challenges are front and centre of public and private collaboration and partnership.
Can I advertise on the ‘Wild About Argyll’ site?
We are currently working on our digital offering on the ‘Wild About Argyll’ website and will be offering you opportunity to advertise on the site very soon.
How do I get a listing on the ‘Wild About Argyll’ site?
Direct members of ‘Wild About Argyll’ will automatically receive a listing on the website.
How do I ensure interesting local attractions/walks/sights are on the ‘Wild About Argyll’ website for my area?
We welcome input from our members on local information on their area and guest blogs. Please be in touch with email@example.com if there is valuable visitor information missing.
Do you accept guest blogs?
We work with social media influencers to showcase our outstanding region, and welcome guest blogs suggestions. Please be in touch with ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I cancel my membership?
If you would like to cancel your membership, we will be sorry to see you go. Please contact email@example.com. Your feedback on your decision to leave would be appreciated.