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Step three

How good could it be tomorrow?

Develop a shared vision

Developing a vision is an essential part of developing your area.

The aim is to agree on what it is your area strives to become in the next five to ten years from a range of perspectives: 

  • what will it look like from a visitors perspective?
  • what will it look like from a business perspective?

Key things to keep in mind

  • Be aspirational
  • Think of the big picture, covering all the issues that affect tourism in an area
  • Don’t get caught up in detail at this stage
  • Be flexible
  • Listen to all views
  • Encourage everyone to think creatively
  • Consult widely within the area and listen to all views

Challenge 9: Where are we going?

Try these exercises to gather good visioning ideas about what your area could be like in the future:

Step back in time

  1. Ask individuals in the group to write down (on separate sticky notes) the key events that happened to them personally in each decade from the 1960s to today. Call this Timeline A.
  2. Ask individuals to write down the key things that have happened in your area, including tourism developments, over the same period. Call this Timeline B.
  3. Put the two timelines together then debate the trends of lifestyle compared to the area themes.
  4. Divide everyone into groups to identify actions for the future.
Imagine if

Do this exercise for both five and ten years’ time.

Ask individuals to close their eyes and imagine a main street somewhere in their destination and then describe answers to these questions.

  1. Who are the visitors on the street?
  2. What are they wearing?
  3. What age are they?
  4. Where are they from?
  5. What are they eating?
  6. What do they like to do?

Collect images and photographs from other destinations and create a montage of how you would like your destination to look in five and ten years’ time.

Develop your key message

Much of the work in developing a destination is centred on identifying and agreeing its point of difference and in creating a believable and motivating brand promise for visitors.

A brand needs to reflect all the characteristics of an area that are special and then be converted to messages and images about the area that will reflect your shared vision consistently to the visitor.

The destination group needs to be collectively responsible for the successful and consistent delivery of all that the brand stands for in your area. As Brand manager the destination needs to agree the brand characteristics of your area and make sure that the customer experience that is promised to the visitor is delivered and exceeded.

VisitScotland has created the Scotland Brand Wheel which is a useful tool for areas to use to make sure that their messages are aligned with the brand essence for Scotland as a whole. Think about your destinations natural fit with the Scotland Brand Wheel and VisitScotland marketing messages and use those to your advantage.

Challenge 10: What makes your destination special?

  • Think about how you could answer the visitor question ‘Why should I come?’
  • Identify the unique qualities and products of your area
  • Identify the biggest strengths of your area
  • Look at the Scotland Brand Wheel to identify what the strengths within your area might be and where you might find spin-off benefits. Take advantage of VisitScotland marketing opportunities and find which ones suit you best.
  • Look at potential new markets

By learning more about potential new target markets, you will understand better what improvements and developments you’ll need to make, to encourage them to visit.

Challenge 11: Identify your future visitors

Research the types of markets who are attracted to Scotland and your area. Our intelligence guides provide easy-to-use, practical information on visitors, sectors, markets and more.

What products are missing?

Armed with a clear idea of who your current customers are  and who they might be in the future, you can now identify what products and services are missing from your area. 

For example, are there particular types of accommodation that these visitors would want to stay in? Can your area offer this? What about attractions and things to do and see?

Getting the products right is essential to attracting visitors and to exceeding their expectations. To make sure that you have got it right, you must remember to ask. 

Customer feedback is a form of free consultancy and a vital way to ensure that you are delivering what your customers want. 

Challenge 12: Identify product gaps

Think about your area’s best assets and what opportunities there are to drive growth more effectively. Do you need different types of accommodation, easier access or a broader choice of activities?

How sustainable is your area?

Scottish tourism will benefit from becoming more sustainable because it safeguards the very assets on which Scottish tourism depends. 

Taking a sustainable approach is the only way to ensure long-term tourism growth. Ignoring the environmental or social impacts of tourism development will ultimately undermine the success of tourism in this country.

Visitors benefit from a sustainable approach to tourism through better links with local communities, a high quality tourism experience and a natural environment that is cared for rather than exploited by tourism businesses.

By being more closely involved in tourism development and marketing, communities can benefit from minimum disturbance and maximum benefit with facilities and services that meet their needs as well as visitors and events that enable communities to showcase their culture and heritage.

Becoming a sustainable tourism destination will generate greater community support for tourism, help businesses achieve significant cost savings, and create new and important marketing opportunities.

Sustainable development/environmental advice 

For links to a range of resources and websites which could help you to make your destination more sustainable, visit the Sustainable Tourism Resource Centre.

Challenge 13: How could your destination become more sustainable?

Consider how sustainable the area currently is and focus on two or three activities that you can do together which will improve performance.

Next step: how can you turn your vision into a reality?