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Promote Shetland


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86 replies to this topic

#1 ll

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:39 PM

We seem to be struggling to find enough cash to keep key services such as transport links, schools and care homes futures secure.

When the rest of Scotland which is made up of many regions with much more tourism industry than Shetland can manage perfectly well with the nationally co-ordinated joined up services Visit Scotland provide including trusted accreditation.

Do we really need Promote Shetland and can we continue to keep paying half a million pounds a year to duplicate a service and create confusion when our core vital services are at serious threat?

From the SIC gov web pages release in 2009 when it was set up:

'At its meeting of 18 February 2009, the Council agreed to an annual cost of £453,392 for the set up and operation of the service'

If the service on the other hand is justified, these costs could be recouped by apportioning a charge £255 per (Shetland Statistics) bed space in Shetland to ensure the service breaks even and doesn't drain away vital public funds required to maintain essential services.

Does the SIC still have it's unique development department? I thought not - none of their signature events take place now and there is no money left to develop anything no we are broke.

#2 shetlandpeat

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:06 AM

How much does it cost now? Exactly what do they promote?

Could be more than just tourists. I promote Shetland nearly every day, we all should....

#3 Kavi Ugl

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:47 AM

I resent Visitscotland(as an organisation)and think that no, we shouldn't be part of it. They simply don't understand or care about Shetland's different history and culture. What bright spark allowed the thistle emblem to be used on the signposts in Shetland??.

So, I am in favour of a Shetland based organisation but sadly Promote Shetland has become an embarrassment and has lost it's focus.

Their facebook page in particular is embarrassing and "promotes" a very false picture of life in Shetland.

It's time it was scrapped and replaced with something which is better focused and which would be better value for money.

#4 GT

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:40 AM

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
The bright spark that allowed the thistle on the national tourist signposts was the SIC because at the time it was the emblem of the Scottish Tourist Board (now Visit Scotland) which is a government department and like it or not we are part of Scotland as far as national and international tourism goes. Having said that I would love to see Shetland with its own distinctive emblem instead of the Scottish weed – but certainly not the poorly drawn snail used by Promote Shetland.

As far as VisitScotland is concerned I agree that as a national body they understand little or nothing about Shetland’s distinctiveness and that has been reflected by the clowns they send up to Shetland to speak to the tourist industry.

On the other hand I hear nothing but praise for the Visit Scotland staff at the Market Cross who are all Shetlanders and understand and know Shetland well and provide just about the best service possible to visitors to our islands. The problem there is that they are well understaffed and underpaid - especially since the SIC, driven by a fit of pique by the then leader of the Shetland Tourism Association against the chair of Visit Scotland, withdrew their share of local funding to set up Promote Shetland at a much greater cost.

#5 Staney Dale

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 10:10 AM

It's typical oF the SIC to throw more more money into a new organisation rather than working with what they have.

Having said that, I get the impression that Promote Shetland is vey switched on to attracting visitors and showing off the best of Shetland. Unlike Kavi I think the Facebook page is excellent. Living mainly South, I follow it and greatly enjoy the beautiful photos posted, and think the number, tone and variety of posts is just right. I know several people who have been attracted to visit by this page, and when I share posts from the page I get great feedback.

I don't know Andy Steven personally, but friends have told me he is very hardworking and personable - a great ambassador for Shetland, as is Neil Henderson who I think is Economic Development. There is doubtless some slimming down and re-allocating of work that can be done, as with all SIC depts, but what we need to do during these cuts is preserve what works well. Keep the talent, lose the time-servers.

#6 Kavi Ugl

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:34 PM

Yes, even I've been aware for some time that the Lerwick office of visitscotland is under-staffed with poor pay.

Personally, and many will know I've mentioned this before, I just feel that Shetland could do so, so much more to make it a special place.

Unfortunately, there's no real vision of this from the SIC, Promote Shetland or even Shetland itself.....

The Shetland Amenity Trust are to be commended for what they're trying to do though(e.g Sumburgh Lighthouse) and this is what we need more of.

#7 MuckleJoannie

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:36 PM

Promote Shetland is part of the Amenity Trust.

#8 Kavi Ugl

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:37 PM

Promote Shetland is part of the Amenity Trust.


Maybe, but that doesn't mean I agree with what Promote Shetland itself is doing or the angle they're taking....

#9 tooney1

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:31 PM

Their facebook page in particular is embarrassing and "promotes" a very false picture of life in Shetland.

I think they do a pretty good job here. They've actively embraced social networking and marketing is all about hyping things up to engage interest.

On the economic side of things I'm not sure how much new business they have attracted inwards or outwards, but this is where they differ from VS and they would need to be making a difference here to justify that budget.

Personally, and many will know I've mentioned this before, I just feel that Shetland could do so, so much more to make it a special place.

Give some examples :)

#10 Speccy

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:20 PM

If the service on the other hand is justified, these costs could be recouped by apportioning a charge £255 per (Shetland Statistics) bed space in Shetland to ensure the service breaks even and doesn't drain away vital public funds required to maintain essential services.


It wouldn't be fair just to charge bed space providers as all kinds of businesses and community groups benefit from bringing folk to Shetland - shops, eateries, hall teas, festivals - as do public services like the museum. Events, festivals and facilities like Mareel attract folk to Shetland by themselves but probably benefit from a central promotional body - it is a complex intertwined relationship.

I am reasonably impressed by Promote Shetland, especially their Facebook page which I think is very friendly and professional.

#11 ll

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:22 PM

So if it came down to a choice of Promote Shetland or Visit Scotland what would it be?

Do Visit Scotland charge the SIC anything?

Maybe if Visit Scotland dropped the thistle logo all would be forgiven and we could save 1/2 a million a year so we can get dangerous roads gritted?

There is no doubt the Amenity Trust have been very good at getting lots of money injected into Shetland from outside sources (as well as a good few millions from the SIC though!) for some worthwhile projects.

As budgets become tighter and with certainly much less cash going to come from the SIC, it would be a good idea to sell off some Amenity Trust assets (or at least franchising out) in order to encourage private enterprise and fairer competition whilst at the same time generating funds on on ongoing basis.

It does seem bizarre for the Amenity Trust to get funding to run Promote Shetland in order to directly benefit from the many of the tourism services it provides such as camping bods, lighthouse self catering facilities and Belmont House.

Like the various council funded eateries, there is no incentive to perform well and private businesses face unfair competition.

#12 Kavi Ugl

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 04:24 PM

@tooney1, maybe I was genuinely wrong but I thought Promote Shetland was set up with the aim of promoting tourism?. What I see (especially on their facebook page) is just a splurge of everything and I sometimes wonder what they're actually trying to achieve.

I saw someone asking if they'll see the northern lights when they come on holiday. The obvious answer is nobody knows but is the website sendng out the impression that Shetland is awash with them and all you have to do is turn up you'll see them?.

I don't know how anybody else feels but the facebook page sends out a very false impression of Shetland. Yes, you might be fortunate to see the merri dancers, or an otter or a killer whale but the truth is daily life here can be drudgery, especially with days of relentless wind and rain.

Some will argue that the clue is in the name - Promote Shetland, but again what is their remit?. Is it the promotion of tourism or immigration?.

Some examples, right. Although some small steps are being taken to improve Shetland's architecture there is still so much work to be done. Sadly many Shetlanders still think that a square, grey, harled blob is "bonnie". The houses we build have a direct impact on the character of Shetland. Now, we can fill Shetland with thousands of grey, harled, life-less houses and make it a dour hole or we can break the mould and be more imaginative - however that's done.

In Faroe, they erected a huge(7-8ft?) stainless steel hook on the green middle of a roundabout as a monument to their line fishing industry. The point is it's imaginative and from a tourism angle gives people something different to look at and talk about.

Is there anything Shetland could do along these lines?. I remember suggesting having one of those life size killer whale moulds erected at Sumburgh head(in the vacinity of the car park). I don't want the area to become tacky but can you imagine what peoples' reactions would be, especially the bairns?.

ll, yes, the Scottish thistle emblems should be replaced asap with an emblem for Shetland. It definately shouldn't be that dreadful Promote Shetland logo but surely we're capable of doing better and designing our own symbol?.

Are Promote Shetland promoting this......?. Not that I see.......

#13 shetlandpeat

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:26 PM

You make it sound quite poor Kavi, in two minds now if I should visit.

Same old rant but little to make a difference.

How much would it cost to change all the signs? You never found out last time did you.

#14 unlinkedstudent

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:37 PM

Are they the lot that produced that load of pish about the windmills, the interconnector and how we had superb broadband speeds, etc.? If so, seems to me that they weren't just being a tad economical with the truth but they were also promoting Shetland to certain types of businesses - 'Come and build your windfarm here', etc. ... which could be discouraging others from visiting.

#15 Kavi Ugl

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:58 PM

You make it sound quite poor Kavi, in two minds now if I should visit.

Same old rant but little to make a difference.

How much would it cost to change all the signs? You never found out last time did you.


It's called constructive critisism SP.....and at least I care......

How on earth am I supposed to find out what it would cost?. On the basis that all you need is a batch of new stickers to put over the existing signs I'll hazard a guess of £2000.

And that would be money very well spent.