Aberdeen’s tourism chief has insisted plans to make tourism a £1 billion-a-year regional industry by 2023 are “plausible”.
VisitAberdeenshire chief executive Chris Foy said a return to growth in the business sector along with an increase in the city hosting conferences and events would help the industry achieve the ambitious target.
Mr Foy said this will be aided by the opening of a “world class” new exhibition centre – The Event Complex Aberdeen (TECA) – which is due to open in the summer.
He said: “It’s plausible. From that baseline of £620 million we’ve already seen quite a big leap in 2017.
“We saw a leap to £700m.
“That was fuelled by a huge growth in day visits but that £1bn figure will come from a number of different sources.
“Part of it will be a return to growth in the corporate sector, so that’s part of the predictions, but also more and more growth from hosting conferences and events, the highest spending types of visitors, and then just organic growth in leisure visitors.”
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He said tourism has the opportunity to grow in an “unprecedented way” with new infrastructure such as TECA underlying that.
He said: “We have never had world-class conferencing events in the city of the scale that we’re about to have.
“It is the single biggest investment in the UK of something of that scale.”
The plan, which was launched in September, aims to make tourism a £1bn-a-year regional industry by 2023 with business events, cruise ships, golf, food and drink, culture and outdoor activities identified as six key growth areas.
Mr Foy added: “Within our business plan we are taking a direct line of sight from those strengths and building our campaigns around those themes.”
VisitAberdeenshire has created a new data dashboard, which brings together around 40 different data sources that are analysed for the benefit of local businesses so they can make decisions on where to spend their money.