New tourism and trade association proposed to build a better future for Dingwall

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A new business and tourism organization could help Dingwall build a better future, it was claimed.

The voluntary organization is an alternative to the idea of ​​a business improvement district previously launched for the Highland City.

A recent community survey aimed at establishing a baseline for improving the city’s fortunes received more than 200 responses.

Led by local entrepreneur Liam Christie (pictured), of Christie Consultants Scotland, he said this has now helped outline a roadmap for improving the city in the months and years to come.

“There were 245 responses to the survey and we will now put all the open-ended questions together to prepare them for early next week,” he said.

“Closed issues are easy to report – there will be no Dingwall BID. “

Earlier attempts to persuade the city’s business owners to support the creation of a business improvement district – where they would pay a tax to support an organization that in turn would work to promote the city as a whole – have been turned out to be extremely conflictual.

Liam Christie.
Liam Christie.

There have been complaints about a lack of clarity on what was planned, how it would benefit the city, and what people would expect to pay for it.

Although Mr Christie launched the Dingwall Community Survey 2021 last month, suggesting nothing was on the table, this week he confirmed the idea for BID was dead in the water.

“We will not consider a BID proposal, it is put to bed,” he said.

“Now is not the right time or the right mechanism for the city.”

Instead, it was suggested that the best opportunity for the region might be the creation of a new tourism and business association to work closely with the already established Dingwall Community Development Company (DCDC).

Membership in this new organization would be essentially voluntary.

Mr Christie said, “We will be looking to create a tourism and business association and get a voice for business that represents the whole city and that can work with the Dingwall Community Development Company.

“We are happy with the response to the survey, and we will now compare our results with the previous survey conducted by DCDC and organize an online event to find people interested in joining the new association.

“Everyone will be welcome to this meeting.

When launching the investigation, Mr Christie said it was vital for Dingwall to have an organized plan in place.

“The city and the region have so much to offer, and we have to find a way to move forward to make the city all that it can be,” he said.

“I know there are plans going on for places further north, and there are plans for Inverness – and we have to make sure we go out with our own plan. We can then promote this plan to the Highland Council and provide the motivation to make sure it gets implemented. “

DCDC Secretary Robin Lingard agreed that the idea of ​​working together could bear fruit.

“We were created in 2017, but of course the pandemic delayed our plans for the city,” he said.

“What we are doing would work very well with what is planned for the creation of a business-led tourism and business association.

“We have just launched our website which makes our group more visible, and it is a very exciting time to move plans for the city forward.

“One of the very reasons the DCDC was created was to work with the many volunteer groups in the city, and we can see that by putting together a business-led initiative alongside what we’re doing, there is a lot to look forward to in the town of Dingwall.

Related article: Calling on young people to have their say in Dingwall’s future in a community inquiry


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