Shetland Tourism Association provides a lead role in the co-ordination of the Shetland Tourism Strategy.

The Shetland Tourism Strategy 2018-2023 was published in 2018 with involvement and support from key stakeholders across the tourism sector in Shetland. The key aim of the strategy is:

We will work together to help make Shetland a year-round, sustainable tourism destination offering unique and outstanding visitor experiences.

Within the strategy there have been three strategic priorities selected, corresponding to key challenges and opportunities, and through which the partners can make a difference by helping to identify, promote, support and/or sponsor appropriate responses.

The Three Priorities are:

Priority 1 – Leadership and Collaboration

Shetland’s tourism sector is largely made up of small enterprises with limited capacity to give time and effort to building a strong and fully representative tourism association. This is limiting the tourism sector’s ability to: communicate its needs and its opinions on important developments such as transport; ensure the sector is connected and informed; pursue common goals including collaborations with other sectors; influence agencies and how they are engaging with the sector.

Priority 2 - Exploiting opportunities

Shetland has unique strengths – our people and our distinctive culture, our landscapes, scenery and other natural assets, and our geographical position “most northerly” in the UK. These are among the main attractors for visitors, with many coming to enjoy the scenery, the wildlife, or any of a variety of cultural, marine, leisure, sport and other activities, all available within a safe and welcoming environment.

Many of Shetland’s strengths match well with wider tourism trends, with increasing demands for authentic experiences; places further from the tourism hot spots and in niche markets such as activity, wildlife, marine, geology, and slow tourism. There are undoubtedly opportunities to better exploit these local strengths, especially as part of wider efforts to lengthen the tourism season.

The challenge will be to work out what more can be done to reach visitors interested in our niche opportunities and ensure maximum return (particularly out with the main season).

Priority 3 - Enhancing the visitor experience

While most visitors to Shetland are more than happy with the quality of tourism services and general levels of customer care, it is important to sustain and further improve on this if we are not to lose out to other destinations. We want to share and promote leading practice and encourage others in the sector to adopt such practices.

We also recognise that our online presence, use of social media and other digital tools can be a very effective way of managing our customer journeys, exceeding expectations and ultimately getting our customers to do our marketing for us. We want to keep abreast of tools and technologies that support this and ensure the sector can use them to their advantage.

Download the full strategy here.

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