A new plan for tourism development in Huntly and District was successfully launched on Friday 3rd April 2009 at Glendronach Distillery.
The distillery proved an appropriate venue as a large turnout of locals interested and involved in tourism joined a visiting group of European officials to toast the launch of the Huntly and District Tourism Strategy. The strategy sets out Huntly and District Tourism Action Group's plans to improve the visitor experience in the area between 2009 and 2014. Its main thrust is that whilst Huntly and District has huge potential and is starting from a position of strength, more work done more cohesively needs to be undertaken to help the area compete against destinations all over the world. The vision for tourism in Huntly and District in 2014 developed during the wide-ranging consultation process is that:
"Huntly and District is widely recognised as a quality destination and touring base, offering innovative, authentic visitor experiences and packages which meet the needs of our visitors. There is a buzz and vibrancy and our visitors receive a warm, traditional welcome. They are encouraged to stay longer, enjoy and explore all that the area has to offer and return again."
Actions to take HADTAG and its partners forward in the period of the strategy, which spans the Year of Homecoming to the Commonwealth Games, are focused on three main areas:
The plan was prepared by HADTAG with the help of Marion Walker Marketing and funded by Aberdeenshire Towns Partnership Huntly.
The strategy launch coincided with the visit to Huntly of the North Sea Commission's Culture and Tourism for their Spring 2009 meeting. This important group of elected members and high-ranking officials from local authorities in European Union Member States bordering the North Sea were in Huntly to discuss culture and tourism-related issues. The visit to Huntly came about through Aberdeenshire Council's active involvement in the NSC network and Huntly's performance in the culture and tourism field. Keith Newton, the Aberdeenshire Council Officer with overall responsibility for tourism development in the area explained: "Alongside my tourism development role I am Area Manager for Formartine. Over the last few years, from a distance, I have been very impressed with Huntly's get up and go attitude, innovation and community dynamism in terms of organising events and promoting the area's cultural heritage. That made it an easy choice to bring the NSC group to the area for the meeting."
Fiona Manson, new chair of Huntly and District Tourism Action Group is delighted that Huntly was chosen to host such a prestigious event: "As HADTAG is a young organisation we don't have a huge track record to display. However, Aberdeenshire Council has obviously been impressed with what we and others in the community have done over the last few years. It is great that a high level delegation of officials were in town for a few days and could join us to celebrate the launch of our strategy to develop tourism in the area."
Download the two Huntly and District Tourism Strategy documents here:
1. Tourism strategy background Huntly Tourism Strategy 2009-2014.pdf
2. Action plan Huntly Tourism Strategy Action Plan 2009-2014.pdf