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#CairngormsTogether will welcome return of visitors

11th June 2020

Joint Press Release from the Cairngorms Business Partnership & the Cairngorms National Park Authority

As the Scottish Government set a target date of 15th July to reopen the tourism and hospitality sector in Scotland, preparations are well advanced in the Cairngorms to welcome back visitors in a way that gives confidence to communities, employees and visitors.

For many weeks now the Cairngorms Business Partnership (CBP) and the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) have been working with a wide variety of businesses, partners and stakeholders to ensure we are as ready as possible to welcome visitors safely.

Mark Tate Chief Executive of the CBP said: “Visitors are an essential part of our life in the Cairngorms, we have missed them. The impact on businesses, employees and communities of not having them here has been devastating, it will take time to recover and some businesses will be unable to do so. Planning to welcome visitors back has been at the centre of our thinking for over two months now and from the very start it has been clear to us and our members that when we do so, we need to do it in a way that gives confidence to our communities, our employees and our visitors. We have been working with businesses, on a sector and cross sector basis to figure out how we can do this.”

The CBP and the CNPA have developed a framework for communicating confidence that recognises the importance of visitors. Mark Tate continued: “We recently conducted a visitor survey and the response was overwhelming, we have an incredibly loyal and trusting visitor base who want to come back, they want to protect the communities that are an essential part of their experience and they want to help businesses. They share our fears about people respecting social distancing and staying safe and they have fears that their favourite experiences simply won’t exist because businesses here have been so badly hit.”

The framework, under the banner #CairngormsTogether is based on four key principles for communities, visitors and businesses to consider: Know the guidelines, Plan Ahead, Be Flexible and Be Kind.

Grant Moir, CNPA Chief Executive said: “Over the past difficult months the response of communities in the Cairngorms has been truly humbling from delivering food and essentials for those shielding to organising litter picks to keep the place we all love looking as special as ever. Communities pulling together is so important to get us through this and CNPA is doing all it can to help and get things done.

“Alongside working with the CBP we are working, through our visitor management group, with public and private sector partners to help them get essential facilities such as car parking, litter collection and toilets up and running as soon as possible. We have also employed seven seasonal rangers to support existing ranger services who will be on the ground ensuring that people have the right information, based around the four communication principles, to stay safe and do the right thing.”

Over the past fortnight Grant Moir, Mark Tate and Janet Hunter (CNPA Board Member and Chair of the Cairngorms Tourism Emergency Response Group) have held a series of community consultation meetings to talk about the #CairngormsTogether framework and hear directly from local residents, community councils and local authority councillors about their hopes and fears for reopening.

Commenting on the meetings Janet Hunter said: “Our communities clearly have concerns about welcoming visitors back; they want to be sure that critical facilities will be open and that visitors will follow the guidelines on social distancing when shopping for example. Many of the visitors are likely to be coming to the Cairngorms National Park for the first time and so we are working hard to promote both responsible behaviour and responsible access via the Outdoor Access Code.”

CNPA has a COVID information and advice webpage which is updated regularly and CBP are developing websites and information sources that will be available to visitors to see at a glance what facilities, attractions, restaurants, bars and cafes are open and what restrictions might be in place to protect communities, employees and visitors. They are also working on real time information sources to enable people to be flexible and find their own safe and responsible space in the UK’s largest National Park.

Go here for Cairngorms Visitor Management Plan.