We are always keen to see good examples of how communities have taken action or been supported to achieve their objectives. One of our team - Angus Robertson - highlighted the great work done by Sleat Community Trust on Skye.
There are a number of the elements of a Smart Village in the activity which carries on today. A strong community trust with clear objectives and an engaged business community can work wonders. Many thanks to Angus for the copy, he was involved in the project and has also shared a couple of his own images.
Visit Sleat – Tourism Portal
Angus Robertson April 2020
Sleat (pronounced Slate) is located on a peninsula in the south of the Isle of Skye. With a population of over 900 it’s the location for the only Gaelic College in Scotland, Sabhal Mor Ostaig, Armadale Castle & Grounds and Toravaig Distillery.
In 2009 Sleat Community Trust identified that many holidaymakers weren’t stopping or “lingering” in the area. Instead the majority of visitors were using Sleat as an entry/exit point to the island, driving through to the bigger Skye “attractions” further North or to get a ferry connection to the mainland.
The Trust then carried out a consultation exercise with those locally involved in tourism to agree on a strategy. The outcome of this work was to form Visit Sleat, an online (& offline) tourism marketing project. Funding from Visit Scotland and through the Trust’s own finances enabled work to start on raising the profile of the area.
A local marketing company developed the Visit Sleat logo with the tagline “Sleat perfectly Skye.” An impressive tourism portal was created which listed accommodation providers, local events, tourist attractions and places of outstanding beauty around the peninsula.
A fold out colour map was also produced mimicking the online map of tourism providers in the area. Thousands of these maps continue to be printed annually for distribution in hotels and tourist hotspots in the Highlands & Islands and around Scotland
Due to funding the first year of inclusion in the scheme was free for members of Visit Sleat. The project then moved to an annual subscription member service which made the project financially sustainable. The project has retained many of its original members and grown substantially over the last ten years.
Key to the success of Visit Sleat has been a strong social media presence with stunning photography of the area and regular updating of the website to keep it fresh and vibrant by a small team of dedicated community volunteers. This has built up a loyal interactive following from around the world. Frequent updates are provided on latest opening times, ferry timetables, new accommodation providers, latest events and the ever-changeable Skye weather!