The Big Ask

The Big Ask – Delivery

  • A seat at the table as a stakeholder in Tourism in Scotland.
  • A full acceptance within Visit Scotland of the place of Ancestral and Heritage Tourism.
  • A calendar of Clan Events, links to Clan Websites, Blogs and Social Media as well as a listing of all Clan Societies and Associations based in Scotland with contact details available through the Visit Scotland Web Portal.
  • Displays and associated leaflets dedicated to the Clans in each region should be featured in each TIO.
  • The creation of a national Clan Trail in the same way as the Whiskey Trail.
  • Support the creation of local Tourist Guides based on Clan History.
  • A realisation that for many visitors to Scotland there is a desire for access to Genealogy for their family history.
  • An acceptance that much Clan History is Highland based and a greater support for Highland Tourism and Culture
  • A Pilot Study defining the importance of Clan Tourism in the North Highlands.
  • Financial assistance in the marketing, planning and delivery of Gatherings and other Clan Events in the Highlands and Islands.*
  • Dedicated staff in Visit Scotland to support marketing and delivery of Clan Tourism.

* The requirements of the Clans in financial terms fall into three categories.

  • Seed funding to set up and run Gatherings. This may be simply deposits for venues, buses and possibly some staff costs. Most Societies have a limited income which is spent on Clan magazines, postage and admin costs. Not the sort of funds to finance a large gathering at today’s costs. Well run, there is no reason for this not to be refundable at the end of the Gathering. Otherwise, it can simply get spent on grandiose gestures.
  • The second, and most important, element is marketing costs. The better the marketing, the greater the attendance. This I would envisage in the form of grants as this would benefit the whole of the Highland Tourism economy. In practice, for 10% of the visitors budget spent at the Gathering  a further 90% is spent on accommodation, food and transport within the local community.
  • The final element is support for ancestral and heritage events/development: Roots Conference at Eden Court, Clan Challenge events etc and also information/education signage and i-pad/android apps(Strathpeffer Tourist App) to promote sites of interest. The Dog’s cemetery at Brahan, the Roderick Mackenzie Cairn, and site of the demise of the Brahan Seer at Chanonry Point come to mind as examples of either opportunity or best practice.

From this template a dream of the future is quickly becoming reality. From November 2013 the establishment by the Scottish Government of the ‘Scottish Clans Event Fund’ will provide Clan Gatherings and Events with the funding stream to which they aspired. Whether it will ever develop to Secretariat has been superseded by the formation of the Scottish Clans Event Fund which fulfils many of the criteria relevant at this moment in time. A steering group has been a route to an established structure; The Highland Clans Partnership Group. Established by The Scottish Government, VisitScotland are on board as is The Highland Council. We have good relations with National Trust for Scotland and Sir Malcolm Macgregor, Chair of the Standing Council of Clan Chiefs. We have representation on the Bannockburn Working Group and the Ancestral Tourism Steering Group. We work closely with Graeme Mackenzie, Chair of the Association of Highland Clan Societies. We enjoy the support of the majority of the Highland Clan Societies and their Clan Chiefs. It is the wish of the Minister that the model of a regional group be replicated in the other areas of Scotland.

The Big Ask – The Original Presentation