The tourism and visitor market in Scotland is facing very challenging times with the global effects of the recession and public sector cuts which will create pressures on funding. Scotland enjoys an enviable reputation as a world-class visitor destination, but ever increasing international competition and economic pressures will mean that tourism and visitor businesses will have to explore new funding models to deliver on escalating demands.
A key challenge is the ability to secure sustainable sources of finance, free of state aid restrictions.
The BID sustainable financial model delivers a funding mechanism over a maximum period of five years which allows local businesses to address issues and concerns that are affecting the performance of their business by delivering projects and services that make a difference. A BID can provide security of finance to tourism and visitor organisations and bodies.
The BID model used as a bolt-on to an existing tourism and visitor organisation, such as a Destination Management Organisation or tourism association will secure their financial base and ensure that all who benefit from the BID also contribute. This will allow the organisation to better plan and manage its operation, delivering positive benefits for the businesses whilst making certain that they have a fundamental role in the development and improvement of the tourism and visitor market in Scotland.
The consultation on BIDs in 2003 made clear that BIDs should NOT be restricted to large towns and cities, to allow more innovative projects to be developed. For example, a BID can also benefit single business sectors such as golf courses, food producers, walking tours such as the West Highland way, and other tourism routes.
BIDs can help to:
- Ø Provide clarity of vision, leadership and strategic focus to an area,
- ØHarness the drive, initiative and involvement of the private sector,
- ØAct as a catalyst for private sector investment by raising investor confidence,
- ØDeliver additional investment and funding,
- ØMaximise the use of public sector assets,
- ØEnsure that budgets work harder and smarter, delivering on local issues and concerns whilst contributing to the growth of - the tourism and visitor market nationally.
John Lambeth President and CEO CIVITAS (Tourism BIDs) USA talks about what Tourism BIDs are, the growth of tourism districts and the benefits of dedicated and ringfenced funding to grown the tourism and visitor market.
Visit Inverness and Loch Ness (TBID)
The UK’s first Tourism BID (TBID), the Inverness and Loch Ness BID, was established after an overwhelming 80.92% ballots in favour, and comprises of six Highland council wards. To date, the Inverness and Loch Ness TBID organisation has over 450 members, and works to brand and promote the area as a tourist destination, encouraging increases in footfall, overnight stays and spending through pulling resources, skills and experience.
It also seeks to attract more conferences and business tourism; to promote and support events and festivals; to provide workshop opportunities for businesses to grow and develop; to work to improve the tourism infrastructure in the area and act as a strong voice for local tourism industry on issues that affect their members.
In their first year, the Inverness and Loch Ness TBID achieved:
Ø Launch of a new consumer brand, Uniqueness; Launch of 1,000,000 tear-off maps produced for accommodation providers to promote visitor attractions; working in partnership with VisitBritain and VisitScotland to maximise the benefit of a £2,000,000 marketing fund for the area;
Ø Business Tourism Sales Manager appointed, and now focussed on increasing the value of the Business Tourism and Conference Market to the area; new online and hard copy Business Tourism Directory produced to assist potential buyers.
Ø Rolled out the opportunity for members to participate in and achieve the WorldHost Customer Care training programme with 48 attendees on 5 courses to date; An array of workshops delivering in partnership with HIE and the City Centre BID, and networking lunches
Ø In partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland, improvements have been made with access to and visibility of Loch Ness at 3 laybys on the south side of the Loch; and initial planning work was undertaken to address problems of visibility on the north side and a new project is planned to improve a 3km section of the South Loch Ness trail near Dores ready to be delivered subject to funding.