A NEW plan to increase tourism in Ayrshire and Arran has been launched.

Industry leaders from across Ayrshire have come together to form Ayrshire & Arran Destination Alliance (AADA) to come up with a collective way forward for the tourism industry following the pandemic.

Over the past year, industry leaders have stepped up to try and drive forward recovery, working collaboratively with Local and National Government to focus on the challenges faced by one of Ayrshire’s key sectors.

Earlier this year, industry leaders appointed international destination experts to conduct research on behalf of the region to shape thinking around the development of sustainable visitor management across Ayrshire.

With input from North, South and East Ayrshire Councils, along with businesses and residents, the research highlighted that tourism is overwhelmingly a “force for good” .

It contributed more than £600 million of visitor spend and supported over 13,000 jobs regionally – but there was a need for more cohesion and joint working across the whole region.

Building on this research, AADA worked collaboratively with VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise and local authorities to successfully deliver a series of industry events throughout May and June.

It attracted almost 200 industry representatives to look at areas of best practice from across the UK.

Through this work, AADA was developed and launched as an industry-led Destination Management and Marketing Organisation for the region.

The organisation will operate on a not-for-profit basis, working collaboratively to grow the visitor economy sustainably, to deliver benefits for businesses and communities.

AADA Chair, Linda Johnston from Auchrannie Resort, Arran said: “We are incredibly excited to announce the launch of Ayrshire & Arran Destination Alliance. It has been formed with a very clear intention. As the regional destination management and marketing organisation, we want to make sure that visitors to this region have outstanding experiences, whilst balancing this with the needs of our amazing communities and environment which make this region so special.”

Linda added: “Working closely with other sectoral, destination, and community groups, and our public sector partners, we believe we can help to bring cohesion and focus to future tourism development for the region.”