A rural tourism strategy for the south of Scotland
Dunira Strategy was commissioned by Scottish Enterprise to conduct a series of studies into the effects of foot and mouth disease on the rural economy, and the potential for developing nature-based tourism. In 2001 a number of events conspired to undermine the rural economy in the south of Scotland. There were 187 confirmed cases of foot and mouth across the region between March and May, which virtually closed the countryside for the summer. The terrorist outrages in the USA on 11 September quickly undermined Scotland's leading overseas market, and rural communities were still feeling the effects twelve months later. The outbreak of foot and mouth was initially seen only as a severe problem for Britain’s farming industry. But the widespread media coverage of the culling of livestock and restrictions on access drastically reduced the inherent appeal of the countryside as a holiday destination. As a result, the number of tourist visitors to the south of Scotland fell by 24%, demonstrating an important link between farming and tourism - a strong relationship that was eventually recognised within government.
With support from the Scottish Executive, a consortium of public sector agencies commissioned Dunira Strategy and its partners on a series of projects, culminating in a strategy for nature-based tourism in the south of Scotland. This included a programme of multi-stakeholder consultations and consumer research to underpin Making Tracks, a new grant scheme for farmers and land managers seeking to diversify and develop new tourism products. The strategy design involved surveying 700 tourism sites across the region and developing geographic and thematic clusters into marketable products.
The strategy includes recommendations for promoting local integration between tourism and community enterprises and developing links between agriculture and education. This in turn will help to promote greater supply-chain links between tourism suppliers and the communities and environments in which they operate.
Dunira is now working on the application of this methodology in other tourism destinations in the UK and overseas.
Offering advice for British travellers
Sustainable tourism requires greater sensitivity by tourists and travel companies in how they behave overseas. Both the UK travel industry and the British government wanted to encourage British travellers to behave more responsibly in how they interact with their destination, which includes the natural, cultural and built environments and the wider socio-economy. Greater sustainability in how the industry operates today will help to protect the development of destinations for future generations of travellers and local stakeholders alike – and protect future revenues for travel companies. In order to promote the sustainability message, the industry needs to develop more specific advice for its customers and training material for its own staff both in the UK and overseas.
The Travel Foundation commissioned Dunira Strategy and partners to produce advice on responsible behaviour for visitors to a selection of popular destinations and holiday activities. These were published as Insider's Guides on The Travel Foundation's website [http://www.thetravelfoundation.org.uk/01_whatyoucando.asp], with appropriate links from other organisations. This information is now available both for consumers to download directly and for British travel companies to make available to their customers. Tour operators are also free to use the material for training their staff in aspects of sustainable tourism and for developing corporate social responsibility initiatives with partners and suppliers.
In managing this project, Dunira worked with a wide range of stakeholders, including community representatives, enterprise groups, local NGOs, destination suppliers and tourist boards, governments and travel industry representatives. The multi-stakeholder nature of the consultations ensured the credibility and validity of the advice, which in turn will help to ensure ongoing support for the efficient dissemination of the results overseas.
This straightforward methodology for generating advice has subsequently been applied to other tourism destinations and activities.
IT solutions for tour operators
Revenue management development
During the early 1990s with the ending of a war in the Gulf, the recent demise of International Leisure Group and emerging competition from new markets following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the environment was ripe for the application of highly technical solutions to traditional business processes. At the time Dunira's managing director was working for a leading tour operator and developing new technologies. Travel companies had realised that ever tightening margins and growing competition required new systems and thus the science of revenue management was born.
Single-component organisations, such as airlines, car
rental agencies and hotel companies, were the first to develop technical
solutions for their revenue management systems and these were soon followed
by leading tour operators. This established the concept of "The right
product at the right price to the right customer at the right time through
the right medium" - a criterion for success that recognised not only
the uniqueness of each customer, but also the difference between different
distribution media and sales channels.
After introducing innovative revenue management systems,
within twelve months one leading tour operator reported substantial increases
in sales volume, value and margin, and a significant growth in customer
satisfaction and loyalty, as measured by complaints and repeat business.
Dunira is consequently able to offer revenue management strategies as part of our technology solutions for tourism businesses.
33 West Preston Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9PY, UK | Tel: +44 (0) 845 370 8076 | Fax:
+44 (0) 870 912 0156