A new tourism strategy aiming to bring in £1 billion of visit spend into the north-east by 2023 could be adopted by a local authority this week.
The infrastructure services committee at Aberdeenshire Council will discuss the new tourism strategy at its meeting on Thursday.
Chairman of the committee Councillor Peter Argyle today said the strategy was a major step forward.
A document that will be discussed by councillors has been prepared by VisitAberdeenshire.
It urges both Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire local authorities to adopt the strategy to increase visitor spend in the region.
The vision is for the region to concentrate its efforts in developing action plans that could bring more tourists through business events, cruises, golf, culture and heritage, food and drink and touring.
In a report to councillors the strategy calls for a compelling shore excursion programme that would appeal to cruise passengers as well as operators to secure ports of call at Aberdeen Harbour.
Director of infrastructure services Stephen Archer said: “The strategy sets an ambitious but achievable ambition that by 2023 we can grow our visitor spend in the region to £1bn per year.
“In 2016 visitor spend was £630 million. This target has been based on the ability to deliver the strategy against the historical and current trends and expenditure in Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen in the tourism industry.”
Mr Argyle said: “If agreed by the councillors then this is an important step forward.
“A lot of hard work has already gone into this to get us to this point with VisitAberdeenshire.
“Tourism is very important and we in the north-east have to find a way to promote the area.
“There are some great projects already going ahead in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire that will already help this, like the Aberdeen Harbour expansion project and new exhibition centre.”
The proposed strategy adoption has been welcomed by a hotel manager as well as the custodian of a tourist attraction and both admitted that more could be done to attract visitors.
Andrew Martin, the vice- chairman of Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels association, said: “I definitely think it’s achievable by 2023. We’ve got VisitAberdedeenshire, VisitScotland, the Hotel Association behind it.
“People are discovering that we’re good value for money. I’ve been saying for years that Aberdeen is the best value destination at weekends in Scotland, and I think that people are beginning to click on to that.”
David McDonald, general manager of Thainstone House in Inverurie, said: “If you look at Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire since the oil downturn around four or five years ago we have rallied and come together and there is a lot of positives to look at.
“With the new exhibition centre, possible new Aberdeen FC stadium and AWPR, we in the hotel industry are working in collaboration with everyone and I think the future is looking positive.
“I think we have come together as a region and tourism has to be on all of our agendas.”
Dunnottar Castle custodian Jim Wands said the £1bn visitor could be achieved.
Jim said: “I personally think more could be done by tourists spots in the north-east by being available all year round.”