Tourism business growth programme cohort graduate from trailblazing initiative

Tourism Game Changer Graduates

GRADUATES of the Tourism Game Changer business growth programme have celebrated completing the latest round of the industry development initiative. 

Since its inception in 2018, more than 50 businesses have benefitted from the programme, delivered by Opportunity North East and VisitAberdeenshire.

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The programme helps businesses identify target markets, understand consumer needs and supports businesses to tailor services to reflect the experiences that visitors seek. Participants leave with a growth plan for their business.

The latest businesses graduating include: 4×4 Overland Hire, Bayview Apartments, Cammies, Cowden Farm Holidays, Glen Garioch Distillery, Huntly Development Trust, MM GolfTours, Northern Frights and Fantasy Scotland, Ride in Peace Adventures and Movement Evolution CIC.

This year, the Aberdeenshire-business element of the programme is funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund on behalf of Aberdeenshire Council.

Chris Foy, CEO, VisitAberdeenshire, said: “The programme equips businesses with the practical tools and know-how to take bold steps towards growth.

“The North-east is synonymous with creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship and the more tourism businesses that take part in the annual programme only further strengthens the region’s product offering for visitors.”

Jennifer Craw, chief executive of Opportunity North East, said: “Tourism is a key growth sector in the region and draws on our spectacular natural environment, world-class adventure tourism assets, premium food and drink, and diverse cultural and historical attractions across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

“Game Changer helps ambitious businesses to understand their customers and provide unique experiences, services and products that resonate with them. The programme is part of continuing ONE action and investment in tourism to attract more visitors to stay longer and strengthen and diversify the economy.”

Councillor Alan Turner, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “We’re pleased to see local businesses participating in this valuable programme and accessing the expert advice and support that is available locally. Aberdeenshire Council has been happy to support participation for some of the participants thanks to funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and we wish all those who have taken part the best of success in the future.”

Christina Wright, Visitor Centre Manager, Glen Garioch Distillery, said: “The Tourism Game Changer programme is a fantastic opportunity to learn from a range of industry experts and peers. The workshops are fun and interactive and you will leave with an array of tools and techniques to support you to develop and grow your business. The support provided by the trainers during the programme is invaluable and I would thoroughly recommend the programme to anyone considering taking part.”

Applications for the 2025 edition of the programme will open later this year.

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