Rural Scotland’s communities offered tourism expertise to support local recovery

A programme to help community development organisations and social enterprises support the recovery of rural Scotland’s tourism sector is being launched today (Thursday 2 July).
People working in community development with an interest in tourism, can apply for one of 15 places in the ‘Communities Leading in Tourism’ initiative starting in late September and running until December. The 12-day programme will give participants an in-depth understanding of the complexities of the tourism sector, including exploring the challenges and opportunities faced following the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s designed to develop the leadership skills needed to influence, plan and support sustainable tourism recovery.

This is the second of three intakes of candidates for the ground-breaking pilot programme which has been developed by social and economic development agencies Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE).

Douglas Cowan, director of Communities and Place at HIE, said: “When we developed this programme, we wanted to build a Scotland wide network of community leaders connecting local development and tourism.  As we tackle the impacts of COVID-19 in rural Scotland, community leadership is more important than ever. Engaging communities is an essential part of developing sustainable tourism going forward.” The Social Enterprise Academy (SEA), which has supported over 14,000 social economy learners, is delivering the blended learning programme of six live online learning sessions, six days of online learning, and three planned two-day residential tourism visits in Skye, the Trossachs and Stranraer. (The residential part of the programme will be subject to all COVID-19 government conditions.)Further information is available at www.hie.co.uk/communitiesleadingintourism