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Council targets tourism boost for North Ayrshire

Posted on 18 Dec 2017
Making Waves


A wide-ranging and ambitious tourism blueprint has been drawn up to help North Ayrshire fulfil its potential as a major destination for visitors.

The newly-approved tourism action plan – called Making Waves in North Ayrshire – aims to utilise the area’s coastal beauty as a key element in strategy.

The four-year plan, covering 2018-2022, will provide a particular focus on promoting the marine and coastal tourism available along North Ayrshire’s mainland coast and islands.

Councillor Alex Gallagher, Cabinet Member for Economy, said: “Marine and coastal tourism is key to North Ayrshire and already directly supports thousands of local jobs.

“Our coastal communities have been a major destination for visitors to North Ayrshire and we believe they can play an even bigger role over the coming years with the right support.

“Alongside the islands of Cumbrae and Arran, we have a coastline few can match and this action plan aims to lay the foundations on how we develop our tourism offering in the years to come.”

Tourism is an important sector in the North Ayrshire economy, employing around full-time equivalent of about 3,650 people with more than 1.6 million tourists visiting the area annually.

That’s worth around £175 million each year to North Ayrshire’s economy. The coastal areas play a key role as more than 80 per cent of visitors to North Ayrshire head to the coast.

Following extensive consultation with key industry representatives, the new action plan lays out key strategies to develop over the coming years:

  • A focus on the coast as the key asset for attracting visitors, generating new enterprise and building on the links with the islands, Argyll and neighbouring local authority areas
  • Developing a cluster of marine, tourist and commercial activities linked to the potential expansion of maritime infrastructure and local regeneration
  • Increasing the economic and social benefits from the visitor economy through a series of events and festivals, and
  • Developing an approach to the promotion and uptake of digital skills - key to business development - ensuring businesses use digital technology to be more efficient, reduce costs and increase profits.

The action plan has been developed following consultation with local people in North Ayrshire, as well as bodies such as neighbouring councils, the Scottish Government, North Ayrshire tourism industry group, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Visit Scotland and Third Sector partners

The Making Waves in North Ayrshire Action Plan is available (PDF, 5.6Mb)