Fife has launched an ambitious tourism strategy to create 900 new jobs in the industry.
The 10-year plan is also intended to boost visitor expenditure by more than 20%, to £416 million.
The new strategy to boost tourism in the region which is worth around £313 million a year and supports 6,000 full-time jobs was launched by Fife Council’s depute leader, Lesley Laird, and Alistair Bruce, the new chairman of the Fife Tourism Partnership.
“We have an excellent tourism proposition here in Fife,” said Mrs Laird. “Just this week another two businesses have won awards; we are looking forward to hosting the Open in St Andrews next summer and Fife has been named best outdoor destination for seven years running. But tourism is a competitive market and we know that there is more we can do to ensure we retain our place in visitors’ minds.”
She said the new tourism plan, developed through consultation with tourism businesses and stakeholders, reflected the priorities of the Fife Economic Strategy.
“I’m delighted that it is now in place and that the Fife Tourism Partnership will be working closely with businesses to ensure that tourism is a year-round economy for Fife,” she added.
Mr Bruce agreed that Fife where tourism contributes around 9% to the local economy as a whole has a great deal to celebrate. But he warned the region should continue to look for new ways to develop tourism. “A key driver in the strategy is to develop year-round visitor appeal,” he said.
“Outdoor tourism and activity-based trips are growing in popularity so the Fife Tourism Partnership has been working with businesses to develop Outdoor Fife.
“The Cruise Forth initiative to showcase Fife to cruise ship passengers is developing very successfully and we should capitalise on new opportunities such as the Forth Bridge Unesco Heritage bid and links to cities like Edinburgh and Dundee,” he added.
The strategy identified the need for tourism businesses to be more collaborative and share ideas and promotional opportunities, especially through the local network groups of the Fife Tourism Partnership, the six local tourist associations.