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Arran has been given a boost by a campaign launched by The Coig, which has seen a huge spike in interest from domestic visitors looking to explore their local area and enjoy staycations.
Visits to The Coig website have increased by more than 500 per cent since the campaign launched, with more visits in July than the first half of 2020 combined. Meanwhile, the campaign reached over half a million people on social media, with followers for the initiative doubling in just six weeks.
Gaelic for five, The Coig is a series of five tourist routes covering Ayrshire, Arran, Bute and Cumbrae, inspiring people to explore the unique coast and countryside on their doorstep.
Each route is designed to showcase the outstanding natural beauty, history and heritage, and food and drink, as well the wide range of outdoor and family activities on offer across the region. Visitors can follow a choice of routes as part of a day trip, or as a longer staycation experience.
Aimed at providing a welcome boost for local restaurants, accommodation, and tourism businesses, the ‘You’re Invited’ campaign was launched in early July to coincide with the easing of lockdown which allowed people to travel more freely.
The campaign was specifically targeted towards locals, encouraging them to explore sites and attractions right on their doorstep – rediscovering places they had not visited for some time and perhaps finding some hidden gems.
Businesses across the area were encouraged to get involved in the initiative, by using the free campaign toolkit created to support industry, and extending an invite for visitors to return as they reopened by posting them on social media, tagging #LocalInvite
Linda Johnston, managing director of Auchrannie Resort and chairperson of The Coig, said: ‘It’s been the most difficult of times, but the past few weeks has seen our industry moving into recovery mode as businesses across Ayrshire and the Clyde Islands have focused on safely reopening. This has been guided by advice from government to keep our communities safe.
‘Despite launching just a few months ago, the reach of The Coig is growing quickly by linking the region up. Our rallying cry to get people to support their local industry has been hugely successful and underlines the power of collaboration across the whole region.
‘We need domestic visitors to help us recover by exploring their local areas and filling the beds that lay empty for nearly four months. So, we won’t be resting on our laurels, and will build on this campaign working alongside public and private sector partners through the autumn and winter to extend the season.’
Daniel Steel, chief executive of The Coig, added: ‘This campaign was never about The Coig brand. In order to rebuild our region after lockdown we must work together, so the campaign was developed with industry input to provide inspiration and to help businesses across the region to adopt a common message that visitors will be safe and welcome to return as safe to do so in the phased re-opening.
‘We have been bowled over by the support from partner businesses, and the local people and communities who have got behind the campaign and extended their own invites to friends, to family, and to loyal trusted visitors.’