Cold water islands tourism conference kicks off in Scotland
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Cold water islands tourism conference kicks off in Scotland

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The inaugural Cold Water Island Tourism conference kicked off on the Scottish Isle of Arran yesterday (17 March) attracting tourism operators, policy makers, planners and politicians.

The new initiative to promote, celebrate and help develop tourism on small cold water island destinations around the world has drawn tourism representatives from Scotland, Wales, The Netherlands and Denmark for what is thought to be the first European conference on cold water island tourism.

Today’s (18 March) session features an overview on employment, education and training for tourism in remote island communities from the University of Strathclyde’s Professor Tom Baum. Meanwhile, this evening’s Gala Event will see a headline address from guest speaker Willie Cameron – one of the best known and respected speakers about cultural tourism and the heritage of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland.

Based on the concept that cold water islands, particularly those in the North Atlantic, face common tourism opportunities and challenges, the conference has been set up to tackle strategies for economic growth using these countries’ natural resources.

One of the event’s key themes is the sustainable growth of these island communities, most of which rely on tourism as a mainstay of their economy.

“Island tourism tends to focus on warm water locations such as the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean,” said Alastair Dobson of Visit Arran – a Scottish island tourism body.

“Cold water island tourism is vitally important to the economy for the island communities but, importantly, cold water islands offer tourists a wonderful opportunity to get close to nature and to experience authentic island life….. and for northern European markets these experiences are much closer to home”

The conference concludes tomorrow (19 March), after a panel session The future of cold water tourism – how to win the battle of tourism featuring Baum, Dobson and Professor Terry Stevens of international tourism consultancy Stevens & Associates.

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