TOURISM firms in Fife have had to find new creative ways of retain business following the economic downturn.
A new survey has found that 77 per cent of tourism companies in the Kingdom have had to change their marketing and business strategies since the recession began in 2008.
The results were recently revealed by the Board of the Fife Tourism Partnership (FTP) - a private sector-led initiative to support and develop tourism business in Fife. Tourism is recognised as a strategic economic sector for the Fife economy and the Partnership is also supported by Fife Council.
John Parker, chairman of the Partnership, said: “The survey gives us a clear picture of the challenges faced by tourism businesses in Fife.
“Of course we recognise the importance of big events like the golf but not everyone benefits from these, even in Fife, so it comes as no surprise that 93 per cent of businesses felt no positive benefits from the London based Olympics.
“Few businesses anticipate much benefit from the Commonwealth Games. However, the issues highlighted in the survey are more fundamental – the high level of VAT compared to other countries, the patchy broadband service which makes marketing, bookings and communications problematic and marketing the region.”
But Mr Parker said there was some positive news in the survey results: “The findings showed how popular Fife is with visitors from overseas with guests coming from Europe, Scandanavia, North America, Australia and Japan,” he said.
“Uk based visitors remain a significant part of the market with the majority from England.”
Businesses have used a variety of strategies to address the changing economic situation from reducing prices to developing added value package deals.
Some have increased advertising and looked to target particular markets such as European tourists and many have hit online and social media sites to market themselves further.
Trip advisor and similar sites are increasingly important in generating enquiries. Cluny Clays, an activity centre in Kirkcaldy, has embraced social media during the past year and now says about 40 per cent of bookings come through its facebook site.
The Board of the Fife Tourism Partnership now plans to raise concerns about VAT and the broadband service with local MSPs and the Scottish Parliament.