By: Laura Hamlet and Natasha Hutchison – Wester Ross Biosphere
The key to collaboration is cultivating individual minds and skills sets to design the structure in which everyone works together toward a common goal.
In Wester Ross they are working on a Destination Management Plan (DMP), creating a strong support network made up of everyone involved in the ‘guest experience.’ Another critical component is having the desire and ability to learn from best practice in other areas with similar obstacles and opportunities.
Businesses are central to a robust DMP, and along with traditional institutions like the local authority and public agencies, comprise our support network. From accommodation, food and drink to activity providers, businesses are the front line in the visitor experience, and engaging with them is the next step in our planning process.
We recently invited SHAPE project partners from the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere to share with us their recommendations for successful business engagement. Our regions are very similar; large areas with remote populations and fragile environments that can make engagement a challenge. Our stakeholders learned about how being a business located in, and affiliated with, a UNESCO Biosphere can deliver both economic and environmental benefits, and that together we can enhance local supply chains, promote local products and manage our special place sustainably. We are extremely grateful to them for sharing their expertise and we look forward to putting our new knowledge to use as we develop our DMP.