A ‘SURGERY’ to support businesses in Lossiemouth who may be experiencing reduced visitor numbers following the closure of the town’s East Beach Footbridge has been organised by VisitScotland.
The bridge – the only way visitors can access Lossiemouth’s stunning East Beach from the town – was closed by Moray Council last August due to safety concerns. Prior to its closure, as many as 4,000 people would use the bridge – the town’s main attraction – each day. The footbridge and beach were also part of the Moray Coastal Path – a route that is now disrupted.
VisitScotland has organised a business surgery, to take place from 10am to 3.30pm on Wednesday, 26 February, at The Harbour Lights restaurant in Lossiemouth. The event will consist of seven 30-minute business advice surgeries and will be run by VisitScotland staff.
The closure also impacts on Lossiemouth beach’s status as a designated bathing water and the environmental protection this affords.
There is now no access to the beach from the town – this was one of the main attractions – and as a result, concerns have been raised about the impact on the local visitor economy and there are worries that businesses may be suffering due to the drop in visitor numbers.
The Scottish Government has pledged to fund the repair or replacement of the footbridge to protect safe access to the beach, recognising the importance of this tourism asset to the town’s economy. Moray Council, who are leading on this project, have established a steering group to support taking this work forward.
Jo Robinson, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “Lossiemouth is often referred to as ‘the Jewel of the Moray Firth’ and its pretty East Beach certainly demonstrates that, predominantly characterised by its sand dunes running parallel to the sea and river stretching even further. It is regrettable that the bridge had to be closed but public safety must obviously be prioritised.
“VisitScotland already works with a number of tourism businesses is Lossiemouth and our priority is supporting them whilst the bridge is closed. A business surgery open day in the town will hopefully encourage businesses to utilise our promotional channels as well as getting 1-2-1 business advice from our Industry Relationship Manager, Cassie McEwan.
“She can help them understand things like the booking behaviour of visitors and explain more about how they can use our promotional channels to maximise their business’s exposure to potential visitors.”
Richard Lochhead, MSP for Moray, said: “I welcome the support of VisitScotland to promote Lossiemouth as a visitor destination – we all need to keep shouting from the rooftops to remind people just how much the town has to offer, despite the footbridge being closed.
“When the bridge does reopen, all eyes will be on Lossie and I’ve no doubt that the town will benefit from unprecedented focus and attention.
“The local community and the town’s businesses deserve huge credit for all the work they do to promote the area, which does depend on tourism and attracting visitors to Lossie.”