An Angus town could soon become a hub for community-led tourism after a new pilot scheme was approved.
The Brechin project aims to empower residents and give them more of a say in what the town has to offer, rather than simply welcoming visitors when they pass through.
A steering group has been created, made up of representatives from various parts of the town.
The scheme has been commissioned by SENScot (Social Enterprise Network Scotland) and the Scottish Government.
Sarah Cameron, development manager at SENScot, said it was a completely new idea, which could boost the sense of identity in towns across the country.
She said: “Community-led tourism puts local people at the centre of the decision-making process to develop a tourist offering which benefits the whole community, not just a few organisations.
“This pilot project is a fantastic opportunity to show how important communities are to tourism in Scotland and also highlight what a community can achieve with the right resources.
“The creation of a unique model will give ownership to the community, providing long term sustainable solutions to developing and supporting local tourism, adding value to and aligning with regional and national tourism strategies.”
‘Giving people a real stake in what happens’
A similar pilot scheme is also going ahead in Girvan in South Ayrshire.
The two steering groups have already met online to discuss a strategy and have set up Facebook pages, Brechin Community Led Tourism and Girvan Community Led Tourism.
The Brechin group is connecting with local and national partners such as VisitScotland, Angus Council and Angus Tourism Cooperative, and will link in to regional and national tourism strategies.
SENScot’s delivery partner, Creetown Initiative, will help steer the process.
Its senior manager, Andrew Ward, said communities across Scotland are impacted by tourism often in ways they don’t realise.
“In reality it is people in Scotland’s towns and villages that make tourism work by welcoming people to their community,” he said.
“So this project is the next step where instead of communities just playing their welcoming role, they now have a say in what that role is and what it is they are promoting.
“Giving people a real stake in what happens in their communities gives them a sense of purpose, pride and worth and this can only be good for tourism in Scotland.”