Orkney tourism businesses gather for annual conference

Orkney’s annual tourism conference takes place in Kirkwall’s Pickaquoy Centre this week, with over 400 local businesses invited to attend the flagship event.

The focus of this year’s conference – organised by Orkney Tourism Group (OTG) – will be on tourism in the digital age, with keynote presentations by a number of top industry speakers.

Thursday’s event will also provide the backdrop for the launch of the 2016 Orkney tourism brochure. Fifty thousand copies of the brochure, which contains all the information needed to plan a trip to Orkney, will be distributed through the Visit Orkney website and at exhibitions and events nationally. It will also be stocked in visitor information centres throughout Scotland.

Open both to members of OTG and non-members, this week’s conference is being hailed as the ideal opportunity for those working in tourism to talk to others in the local industry and keep up to date with what’s happening in the marketplace.

Registration for the event – which is free to attend – gets underway at 10.00am. The conference closes at 4.00pm and is followed on Thursday evening by the annual OTG dinner.

Ann Marwick, director of OTG, said: “Our annual conference represents one of the few opportunities that everyone working in Orkney’s busy and incredibly diverse tourism industry has to come together, take stock of where we’re at and discuss how best to take the sector forward over the coming year.

“Our conference theme of tourism in the digital age sensibly reflects the rapidly changing marketplace in which we now operate. That marketplace is more competitive than ever, but technology also offers us some exciting opportunities to promote Orkney to a global audience. Economically, tourism has never been as important for Orkney as it is now, so it’s vital that we work together as an industry to ensure the message about our wonderful islands is spread as effectively as possible around the world.”

Speakers attending this year’s conference are:

  • Dr Howie Firth – Director of Orkney Science Festival
  • Vicki Miller – Head of Customer Experience – VisitScotland
  • Lee Inkster – Industry Relationship Manager – VisitScotland
  • Peter Murray – Outreach Manager – Media Trust
  • Kirsty Halcrow – Online Marketing Executive – Promote Shetland
  • Nik Sennhauser – Associate Consultant – LMW Consulting Ltd

The OTG annual dinner, being held at the Foveran Restaurant, follows the conference at 7.00pm. Guest speaker on the night is former BBC Radio Orkney senior producer, John Fergusson, who has recently written a guidebook on the best walks in Orkney. Entertainment will be provided by Kirkwall Grammar School musicians who are raising funds for a trip to Monaco next month to perform for HSH Prince Albert. A charity raffle will also be held at the dinner in aid of the Friends of the Neuro Ward, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Tickets for the dinner, which is open to anyone, cost £25 per person.

Anyone wishing to attend the conference or dinner should contact the OTG office on 01856 230300 or mail admin@visitorkney.com to reserve a seat.


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