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Packed programme of events for 2021 Orkney Tourism Summit

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  • Packed programme of events for 2021 Orkney Tourism Summit

Eco-travel, sustainable tourism, and cruise liner strategy are just some of the topics up for discussion at this year’s Orkney Tourism Summit, which gets underway next month.

Open to all Destination Orkney members, the free online summit will run for six evenings across a two-week period from 9 November, with a line-up of key industry speakers and a range of special training sessions on offer.

Keynote speakers include responsible tourism expert, Dr Harold Goodwin and travel journalist, Mark Rowe, who also created the Bradt guidebook for Orkney.

Also delivering summit sessions will be representatives from Visit Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Orkney Islands Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Association of Scotland’s Self Caterers, Scholes CA and OIC Marine Services, along with some Destination Orkney member businesses and colleagues.

View over Stronsay, Orkney


Each session will be delivered via Zoom, with events advertised and registrations taken through Eventbrite under the heading 2021 Orkney Tourism Summit. Registration opens on Thursday 21 October.

Ailsa Heal, destination manager at Destination Orkney, said: “The past couple of years have been particularly challenging for Orkney’s tourism businesses, as you might imagine, but the industry locally is now looking ahead to better times. The summit gives us all an opportunity to take stock and ensure we’re doing everything we possibly can to rebuild our market, sustainably, through 2022 and beyond”.

Ailsa added: “We also want to explore key issues around responsible and sustainable tourism and have constructive discussions on the cruise market. Ultimately, we want to ensure our community reaps the benefits of tourism as the industry recovers, while protecting the very assets that draw visitors to our islands.”

Cruise ship in Orkney


In previous years, the Orkney Tourism Summit had been held as a full day, in-person conference. However, this year an online event has been deemed a more appropriate option with the hope it will encourage all Destination Orkney members to attend as many sessions as they can.

“We decided the best way to mitigate any risk of cancellation through Covid-19 related restrictions, and to address potential attendee concerns regarding large gatherings, was to run this year’s summit online,” Ailsa explained. “We’re already thinking about a follow-up event early next year, and how we might mix in-person and online activities ahead of what will hopefully be a more normal tourism season.”

The Orkney Tourism Summit is open to all members of Destination Orkney. Free membership to Destination Orkney is being offered for the next year. Anyone interested in joining before registering for the summit can sign up via Orkney.com or email admin@destinationorkney.co.uk.

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