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Warm welcome for Cold Water delegates

Press Release   •   Mar 03, 2016 12:53 GMT

An international conference set to generate more than £180,000 for the Arran economy is again receiving support from VisitScotland’s Conference Bid Fund, it was announced today.

Following a successful inaugural year in 2015, The Cold Water Islands Tourism Conference is returning to the island known as “Scotland in Miniature”, with around 150 tourism professionals from around the world expected to attend.

Tying in with the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, the speakers include architects, artists, tourism experts, environmentalists and academics from across Europe and Scandinavia.

The conference aims to promote, celebrate and help develop tourism on small cold water island destinations around the world. Over the course of the conference, delegates will also enjoy a visit to Arran Distillery as well as guided tours of the island.

Among the keynote speakers at the event, which takes place at Arran High School's community theatre from 14-16 March, are Claus Rex, Tourism Officer for Dragor in Denmark, Trine Kanter Zerwekh, who is responsible for the promotion of the National Tourist Routes in Norway, Lars Olsen, former Chief Executive of the Knowledge Centre of Coastal Tourism in Denmark, and Zrinka Badurina, from the tourist board of Mali Lošinj in Croatia.

Delegates will find out more about the legacy of CWIT2015 from Sheila Gilmore, Executive Director of VisitArran, while other local speakers include Jacqui Gale, Chief Executive of Arran Aromatics, Manuela de los Rios from COAST and local MSP Kenneth Gibson.

Rory Archibald, Business Development Manager at VisitScotland, said: “We are delighted to help bring the Cold Water Islands Tourism Conference back to Arran through the VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund. The fund has boosted the Scottish economy by more than £200 million, supporting business events taking place throughout the country up to the year 2022. I’m sure this year’s event will be another great success, as delegates share their expertise and experience of marketing cold water destinations, while also enjoying the stunning beauty of Arran.”

Sheila Gilmore, Executive Director of VisitArran, said: “VisitArran is delighted to be welcoming back CWIT for a second year.  Last year’s event offered such a great opportunity for all involved and we shall be reflecting on this at the conference.  The calibre of the speakers is once again excellent, and we are delighted to be welcoming back the enigmatic Julian Jenkins, who will be co-hosting. This highlights Arran’s success as a business tourism venue.  None of this would be possible without the support from VisitScotland and our other sponsors.”

The event is also supported by North Ayrshire Council, CalMac, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and VisitArran.

An action plan to boost the value of Scotland’s marine tourism industry by nearly £100 million was launched in November 2015.

There is still time to register for the conference. For more details, go to

Notes to Editors

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  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
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    Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the current 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • Join the conversation at #IAD2016
  • Events can join the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Partner Programme throughout the year by visiting