The focus of this e-forum was about helping the sector prepare and plan for the year ahead. There are many unknowns about when the sector will be able to trade viably again and what the season will look like when we get underway, but we have brought together a great line-up of speakers to best help us look ahead.
Speaking at the event were:
• Marc Crothall, CEO of the Scottish Tourism Alliance – As well as being CEO of STA, Marc is also the chief representative of the tourism industry on the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG). Marc discussed the Action Plan of the STERG, and provided an update on both the short term rescue and long term recovery stages of the plan in 2021 and how this has been adapted following the most recent lockdown. He also provided an update on both the work of STERG and the Tourism Task Force.
• Jon Young, Travel and Culture Director at BVA BDRC – ASVA has been sharing insights from BVA BDRC since early in the crisis and we know that members have found their resources, such as the COViD-19 Attitude Tracker and ClearSight Recovery and COVID-19 report highly beneficial in understanding the mood of the nation. Jon joined us to share the most recent insights into research undertaken by BVA BDRC regarding the domestic (UK) market, including consumer confidence in visiting attractions again, what makes an attraction attractive to domestic visitors and how we can encourage more domestic visitors through our doors.
• Chris Michaels, Director of Digital, Communications and Technology at the National Gallery – We were delighted to have one of the leading lights in the industry joining us to discuss the critical importance of the digital offering at attractions in 2021 and beyond. Amongst other things, Chris talked about how and why attractions can diversify their online channels and how and why attractions need to undertake their own digital journey in 2021. Through sharing insights on the National Gallery’s own digital journey and the impact this has had on the organisation, Chris provided inspiration and guidance for attractions of all sizes on how to take forward your own digital offering.
• Barbara Smith, Managing Director of Scotland Brand Homes at Diageo – Barbara is an ASVA Board Member and very familiar face in the Scottish Attractions industry. She joined us to discuss how Diageo are planning for the 2021 season, including of course, the opening of one of the most significant new attractions in Scotland, Johnnie Walker Prices Street. Barbara highlighted how they are facing up to the challenges presented by the current uncertain climate and shared ideas and inspiration applicable to all attractions in Scotland, including how Diageo are engaging with local communities, their ongoing commitments to inclusivity, sustainability and responsible tourism, digital opportunities and how they will ensure visitors will be able to enjoy safe, world class experiences when the doors open again.
Our CEO, Gordon Morrison, was also on hand to provide an update on ASVA’s ongoing work on behalf of the attractions sector.