January 24, 2023
Community tourism – the conscious choice
When Senscot supported the formation of a new network of community organisations who were running tourism businesses, it seemed such an obvious thing that one wondered why it hadn’t happened before. Countless communities, particularly rural ones, depend on the spending power of visitors even though many don’t necessarily identify as being part of the tourism industry. Now formally constituted, SCOTO is on a mission to drive forward the community tourism message and make it the conscious choice for visitors. An extensive roadshow of events the length and breadth of the country kicks off this week. Get yourself along.
Tourism network launches nationwide roadshow
Scotland’s community tourism network is launching a nationwide roadshow in a bid to support existing community tourism providers and encourage more communities to take a lead in providing grassroots owned tourism facilities and services.
SCOTO, which launched last year and now has over 100 members across Scotland, is hosting a series of roadshows across the country in a bid to raise awareness of the extent of community tourism across Scotland, promote networking and inspire more community led tourism enterprises. Its membership includes museums, outdoor experiences, information centres, glamping pods, cafes, trails and numerous other tourism attractions and services owned and operated by local communities.
SCOTO was launched in a bid to promote community owned tourism enterprises. Its membership has grown rapidly and the body is keen to engage communities that are delivering tourism products and others that may have an interest in developing local tourism facilities.
The roadshow is open to existing SCOTO members, social enterprises and community organisations delivering community tourism, local tourism groups and community groups aspiring to set up a tourism offer.
As well as networking opportunities, the roadshow will offer practical support to local community groups looking to set up a community owned tourism enterprise.
The roadshows run from January to March and will take in 25 locations across Scotland, starting with the Highlands, Moray, Speyside and Aberdeen-shire from 23 January. A series of virtual events are also planned.
Carrol Tobin, a director and founding member of SCOTO, said: “We are looking forward to engaging with potential new members across Scotland. The SCOTO network is diverse and continues to expand as more and more community run tourism enterprises see the advantage of working together. We would encourage anyone who is passionate about supporting local tourism to join our roadshow and meet others in the sector who are working hard to promote community owned tourism.”
She added: “At this time of year, many people are thinking about booking short breaks. We want more people to think about touring Scotland and enjoying the many wonderful attractions we have that are owned and run by local communities. Every pound spent in a local tourism facility is a pound that benefits that local community, and everything that’s spent is reinvested back into the local community, ensuring that some of our remote and rural facilities remain sustainable for the long term. These amazing places also give visitors the chance to experience being a ‘temporary local’ and get to the heart of individual communities across Scotland.”
The roadshow is supported through Inspiring Scotland by the Scottish Government Rural and Island Communities Idea into Action Fund and leads up to a two day conference and learning exchange at the Duke of Gordon Hotel in Kingussie from 2-3 March.
The full schedule is as follows:
- North East (Highland, Moray, Aberdeen-shire) w/c 23 January
- South West (Renfrewshire, Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway and Lanarkshire) w/c 30 January
- Central and East (Forth Valley, Lomond, Fife, Rural Perth, and Angus) w/c 6 February
- South East (Borders, Tyne & Esk, West Lothian and Kelvin Valley) w/c 13 February
- North & West (Highlands and Argyll) w/c 20 February
- Islands (Orkney, Shetland and Outer Hebrides) w/c 6 March
To book a place on the roadshow, visit www.scoto.co.uk/b2b