A rural Perthshire community has turned to online crowdfunding in a bid to boost tourism after the coronavirus lockdown.
For the past 12 months Glenshee and Strathardle Tourist Association has not been able to do its usual fundraising because of the coronavirus lockdown.
Now after a difficult year for the tourism industry, the group has turned to online crowdfunding to make sure it can maintain its services once they are able to welcome visitors in once again.
“We have never done online fundraising before, it is completely new to us.
“But we have been amazed at the level of support out there.
“We pay for the webcam that looks at the Glenshee snowgates so people can see if the gates are open or not before they travel up, but this year we had a knock-back when thieves broke into the metal box at the side of the road and stole it.
“Fundraising is needed more than ever now because we will have to replace that equipment.
“We also run a visitor centre and maintain a picnic site off the side of the A93.
“That spot has been really well used in the last 12 months because all the cafes are closed.
“We did manage to get some grants from the national park authority and from the local windfarm so we have done a complete refurbishment of our visitor centre for this summer.
“Even though we are in lockdown there is still a lot of costs for us to cover, and we are not eligible for nay government grant support.
“So we are aiming to raise £1,000 to cover our annual running costs until we can get fundraising again.”
As well as working for the tourist association, Philip and his wife also run Dalnoid self-catering cottages and after the first minister’s announcement on Tuesday 23 February they have had to make around £30,000 worth of refunds to customers booked to stay with them.
He added: “For tourism businesses over the last 12 months they have only had three and a half months of trading which is pretty dire to be honest.
“All of the money they have been able to take in during that window has now been used over the winter months while they have been forced to shut.
“It has been a really difficult 12 months.
“I don’t know when we can reopen – my wife has just refunded £30,000 of bookings between now and the end of April, and that is being replicated all over the area.
“Having the ski centre closed all winter has also had a disastrous impact on tourism in the area, from the ski centre itself, to ski hire and ski schools, cafes and accommodation.
“But a lot of people have strong ties to Glenshee because they might have skied here as a child and still have that link to the area.
“So fingers crossed there will be a lot of interest in coming to stay here over the summer because Glenshee and Strathardle is a beautiful area, but at the moment it is difficult to think beyond next week.”
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