A NEW leaflet aimed at attracting visitors to Forres was launched last week.
Around 50,000 will be distributed to highlight local attractions – in the area by Forres Area Community Trust (FACT) and nationwide by Landmark Press.
Local outlets will also forward them to visitors and guests.
They have been designed to encourage people to explore more of the area when they visit for events including the European Pipe Band Championships and the Findhorn Bay Festival.
“With so much going on around Forres it is difficult to capture it all in one leaflet,” said FACT director Lorna Creswell. “However, we’ve offered a snapshot of the amazing range of things on offer in the town and surrounding area.
“The message is: come to Forres, there’s something for everyone and it’s nearer than you think!”
White water rafting, off-road quad biking, beautiful beaches, Macbeth’s connection, Kinloss Abbey, Brodie Castle, and the European Pipe Band Championships are just some of the attractions mentioned to persuade visitors to explore.
The pamphlet is a collective effort. It was produced by FACT with support from Moray Council and the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Action Plan. It got 50% financial match-funding from the VisitScotland Growth Fund administered by Moray Speyside.
Locally, a coordinated effort from Forres Area Forum (£2500), the Common Good Fund (£800) and £50 individual contributions from local businesses and organisations brought the total investment to £10,000.
The idea for the leaflet came from The (Forres area) Tourism Group, formed in 2013 as an informal gathering of businesses and groups involved in local visitor attractions.
They include Logie Steading, The Loft, Ace Adventures, Brodie Castle, the Falconer Museum and individuals with tourism expertise.
The group was started by former FACT employee Cameron Taylor and initially advertised to attendees of a FACT Tourism Conference in 2013.
It continues to be open to anyone who has an active interest in local tourism and meets every six weeks.
“Our aim was to meet, network and get to know each other in order to create activity and projects that support the increase of visitor numbers to the area through partnership working,” explained FACT development officer Debbie Herron.
“In 2014/15 we worked with Moray Speyside officers to support the submission of an application to the Visit Scotland Growth Fund that would provide funds for us to market the area to the rest of the UK with an emphasis on people within a four-hour drive of Forres.
“The application was successful and over the last year we have been working on the leaflet, hosting networking events, developing initiatives and looking to see what packages businesses can promote across the country.”
The original FACT Tourism Conference was followed by a networking event at The Loft and a seminar about running a B&B at the Falconer Museum during Moray Business Week.
“The events introduced people that work in tourism to each other,” said Ms Herron. “They shared knowledge and passed contacts and work to each other, helping to keep business local.
“We are also getting involved with national scheme Walkers are Welcome Towns and Villages. Once we have filled the criteria, we will be awarded the status. It’s ideal as we have the Dava Way, we’re on the Coastal Trail and have many more local short walks.”
She added: “The business packages idea is in development. The plan is that if someone wishes to go golfing in the morning - for example - and they’re not sure what to do in the afternoon, they will be signposted to other local activities so that a wider range of activities and services are promoted.”
Work is also currently being carried out on forresweb.net to make the site more mobile-friendly. It is hoped that once completed in May, it will increase the number of visitors who read about Forres on the internet.
The Forres leaflet will help also showcase the town for the travel trade when representatives share a stand at the VisitScotland Expo in Edinburgh from April 20-21.
Ms Herron and Victoria Butler from the tourism group will represent Forres as part of the Four Towns Partnership with Keith, Buckie and Lossiemouth and Elgin BID.
The Moray presence, co-ordinated by Moray Speyside Tourism, will highlight some of Moray’s finest attractions and events.
Copies of the Forres leaflet are available for distribution in the FACT office.
SOURCE: Forres Gazette