The local tourism industry is gearing up for its spring marketing campaign, having achieved two of the three targets in the Ayrshire and Arran Tourism Strategy 2012-2017.
Those targets were: to increase the annual number of visitors to Ayrshire and Arran by 10% from 3.5 million to 3.85 million; increase annual spend by visitors by 20% from £348m to £418m; and increase the employment supported by the sector by 10% from 8,915 jobs to 9,807 jobs. The visitor numbers and economic impact targets have been exceeded but despite a 3.4% increase the tourism employment target was missed.
Around 6000 South Ayrshire jobs are in tourism/hospitality and South Ayrshire Council, along with North and East Ayrshire Councils, has a service level agreement with VisitScotland to have Ayrshire and Arran represented via its marketing activity. For 2018/19 the service level agreement is £45,000 split equally between the three councils, down from £60,000 the previous year.
A report to South Ayrshire Council’s leadership panel explained: “For the council this £15,000 investment is a reduction of 50% on the previous year as it was felt a good return on investment could be reached by concentrating on social marketing rather than more traditional means. In addition this allows us to place a higher focus and spend on destination marketing through our own channels.”
The region’s spring tourism marketing focuses on outdoor activities, history and heritage, food and drink, islands and coasts, and Burns.