Thursday, September 30, 2010

Winter Golf Lessons in Scotland

Turnberry Resort Links Golf Academy offer Winter Tuition

As the days get shorter and crisper, winter is the perfect season to improve your golf game. Where better to improve and practice your swing than at Europe's leading Links Golf Academy at The Turnberry Resort home to the Ailsa and Kintyre links golf courses. 
Winter Tuition at Turnberry includes:
  • Two 30 minute lessons (using the latest teaching GASP software)
  • 30 minute putting Lesson
  • 30 minute short game lesson
  • 4 rounds on the Arran Academy course
The cost of this great golf tuition offer is only £179 per person and is available from the 1st November 2010 until 31st March 2011.

E-mail or call the Turnberry Reservations Team on +44.1655.333.991 for more information

October and November Golf Deals at Turnberry Ayrshire

As The Ryder Cup approaches thoughts will inevitably turn to getting some more golf in before the winter. You could do a lot worse than turning your attention to the wonderful opportunities for Autumn and Winter golf on Scotland's West Coast Golf Links where it is quite possible to play on full greens the whole year round.

One such opportunity exists with the package from Turnberry, "Golf in the Gulfstream at Turnberry"

With fewer hours in the day, a round at Turnberry is treasured all the more, particularly when a round is available from only £79.

Golf in the Gulfstream at Turnberry includes:
  • One round of golf per person on The Kintyre or The Ailsa
  • Bacon roll and coffee upon arrival
  • Three course lunch at Tappie Toorie
The cost of these Ayrshire Golf Packages are: 
  • The Ailsa - £129 per person in October and £99 in November
  • The Kintyre - £99 per person in October and £79 in November
E-mail or call the Turnberry Reservations Team on +44.1655.333.991 for more information

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Malcom Roughead Appointed CEO of Visitscotland

The following is lifted directly from the VisitScotland press release on the appointment of the new Chief Executive. It won't be the last time that it will be mentioned over the next few days we're sure.

"VisitScotland has announced the appointment of Malcolm Roughead, OBE, as its new Chief Executive, along with a restructuring of senior staff to create annual savings of £335,000.

Representing a saving of more than £1.3 million over the course of the next four year spending review, efficiencies will include cutting the number of directors in the organisation from six to four and investing savings in marketing Scotland.

Malcolm has been Director of Marketing at the organisation since 2001 and has been acting Chief Executive since June. He will take over the post with immediate effect on a salary of £140,000 - £21,000 below that of the former CEO.  Malcolm has asked that there be no annual bonus entitlement in this package. His current post will not be replaced and he will continue with his strategic marketing role.

Malcolm has already signalled a change of direction for the organisation - with stronger partnership working with the tourism industry and a review of key functions to respond to the current challenges in the public sector.   He led the organisation following the ash cloud crisis by developing a £5 million campaign targeting people living in the UK and Europe and, for the first time, a major stand-alone campaign targeting people living in Scotland.

Malcolm (51) joined VisitScotland from Diageo in May 2001. He came from Guinness World Records as Global Sales and Marketing Director. A graduate in Modern Languages from Glasgow University in 1981, Malcolm previously held a number of senior marketing positions with Guinness in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America. He has also worked in marketing with Nestlé and Beechams in London. In March 2004, Malcolm was awarded the title of Scottish Marketeer of the Year at the Scottish Marketing Awards. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Direct Marketing and a Fellow and former Chair of the Marketing Society in Scotland. In 2005 he received an OBE for services to tourism.

VisitScotland can also confirm that it has reached a mutual agreement with its former Chief Executive, Philip Riddle. He will receive a gross settlement of £127,000 - with an additional payment to VisitScotland's pension scheme of £113,000. This is in line with agreed government guidelines and conditions of the Chief Executive's employment contract. This will be entirely funded from salary savings in this financial year and VisitScotland is keen to reassure the tourism industry that this package will not be funded from current marketing activity spend.  Overall savings, as a result of the reduced Chief Executive remuneration package and not replacing two other directors, will mean the pay bill for senior staff this year is actually falling.

Malcolm said:   "VisitScotland has transformed itself over the last decade and I am looking forward to leading the organisation as it continues to change and develop. In the current climate it's crucial we work together to grow tourism. VisitScotland generated more than £400 million for the Scottish economy last year - representing a return of more than £20 for every £1 invested. I want to work closely with the tourism industry to achieve even greater growth in the years to come as I believe that tourism is vital to economic growth and creating new jobs."

VisitScotland Chairman Mike Cantlay added: "Malcolm is regarded as one of the top tourism marketeers in the world. My board believes that his track record of success and the magnificent returns VisitScotland brings the Scottish economy will reap dividends for our industry in the future. Additionally, the economies of his streamlining of the senior management team should bring confidence that VisitScotland will always achieve best value for money."

Corporate Partners at Gailes Links

In these financially constrained times it's often hard to justify corporate entertaining but sometimes the benefits have to be looked at closely and when it stacks up it really can still provide a strong return on investment. Golf clubs in Ayrshire are all looking at their own offerings closely and for businesses in the west of Scotland the package put together by Glasgow Golf Club for their Gailes Links course near Irvine ticks a lot of boxes.

The Corporate Partners Programme offers Sponsorship packages at both Killermont and Gailes Links.
The fee is between £2,150 to £2,700 plus VAT for 12 months, depending on the package. They represent excellent value and can be tailored to your needs.

Packages entitles the Corporate Partner to,
  • an appropriate advertising plaque on one of the tees
  • between 40 and 80 Green Fee tickets which may be used for a one-off event or a number of smaller or separate groups (plus an additional 20 Green Fee tickets are available at a reduced cost)
  • Partners at Killermont can use the Dining Room, Gun Room and Tennant Room for business meetings/seminars and lunches/dinners etc by arrangement
  • Partners at Gailes Links can use the Dining Room and Ian McLaren Room for business meetings/lunches etc by arrangement
Enquiries should be made to either Alan McMillan the Managing Secretary, or Claire Tennent the Golf Administrator, by telephoning 0141 942 2011 or emailing

Gailes Links Publish 2011 Green Fees

Gailes Links (or Glasgow Gailes as many would recognise it) on the Ayrshire coast have recently agreed their green fees up to September 2011. The details are:

WINTER - (Nov 10 to March 11)
Single round Midweek Only: £35.00

SHOULDER -(Oct 10 & April 11)
Single round Midweek: £55.00
Single round Weekend (after 2.30pm): £65.00

SUMMER -(May to Sept 2011)
Single round Midweek: £70.00
Single round Weekend(after 2.30pm): £80.00
Single round with 2 course meal Midweek: £75.00
Day Rate (2 rounds)Midweek Only: £85.00 n/a
Day Rate (2 rounds includes 2 course meal)Midweek Only: £90.00

Junior Green Fees available on request

September 2010
Book a tee time Monday to Friday 2.00 to 4.00pm for £160.00 (For a fourball this is a saving of £30.00 per person)
October 2010 and April 2011
Book a tee time Monday to Friday 2.00 to 4.00pm for £140.00 (For a fourball this is a saving of £20.00 per person)

Dundonald Links Winter Golf?

Looks like there's some great value off season golf available at Dundonald Links starting with £40 green fees for October. More information from Dundonald Links website but have a wee look at the picture gallery to be tempted furtehr

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Quangos pay Ex Employees As Consultants Shocker...

According to The Scotsman today "A probe has been demanded into public bodies handing millions of pounds of taxpayers' cash to consultancy firms run by former employees as part of a "revolving-door culture."

Apparently, The Scottish Government and its agencies pays out £100 million a year to consultants for expert advice on areas such as IT, management and human resources and the convener of the Scottish Parliament's public audit committee Labour MSP Hugh Henry has called on Ministers and spending watchdog Audit Scotland to investigate why consultancy contracts were handed to former managers of public bodies. Mr Henry said: "It looks to me like an 'old pals act' and I want Scottish Ministers to investigate these contracts.

Surely not in Tourism I hear some gasping with astonishment.

To those of us involved in tourism in Scotland over the years, the frustration of seeing contract after contract being issued to the same faces to produce the same reports, produce the same strategies and produce the same outcomes on the ground has been to say the least highly frustrating.

There may be very good arguments why the same opinions are sought time after time. however many do fundamentally believe that the decision making process is flawed and that Scotland suffers as a direct outcome.

The convenor continued, "It is a scandal that scarce public resources are being used in this way. I will also be writing to Audit Scotland to ask them to examine whether this use of public money represents best value. It does look in some of these cases that senior executives are preparing financial opportunities before they leave these organisations and this can't be right. If the work is needed then surely these organisations should be asking their employees to complete the work before they leave."

Finance Secretary John Swinney said the Scottish Government was committed to tackling the problem, which saw former University of Aberdeen principal Sir Duncan Rice paid £2,000 a day for consultancy work at the institution after retiring.

A spokesman for Mr Swinney said: "John is absolutely committed to further tightening this up."

On a topic such as this one there must surely be some comments from those involved in the industry or all we all too tied up in the status quo to rock boats...

Proposed Ayrshire Golf Resort is Used as Security

Interesting article from the Irish Indepedant last week. Interesting for the main story but also for the fact that Ayrshire has been relocated by the journalist to the Scottish highlands!

"A castle in the Scottish highlands (sic), valuable paintings by Irish artists Sean Keating, Donald Tesky and George K Gillespie, as well as any proceeds from an upcoming court battle, have all been put up as security for borrowings from Anglo Irish Bank by indebted developer Seamus Ross of Menolly Homes.

Mr Ross has pledged Dalquharran Castle in Ayrshire as security against borrowings from the bank. The ruined castle, built by Robert Adam in 1780, is earmarked for major redevelopment as a golf resort, subject to funding.

Menolly has also pledged land in Montenegro as security, as well as a number of insurance policies, according to mortgage documents.

The image comes from a great site about derelict buildings and has some great photos of a magnificent ruin that most of us remain blissfully unaware of.

Prestwick Golf Pass rates for 2011 and 2012

Introducing the Prestwick Golf Pass...

The three Prestwick golf clubs have trialled a joint marketing initiative, offering a round on each course at a special rate. This has proved successful for each of the Clubs and it is the intention to roll it out for the 2011 / 2012. The current prices are indicated below and the VAT increase will come into effect in April 2011. Weekend supplements will apply where times are available.

The golf pass includes a midweek round over the Birthplace of The Open Championship, Prestwick Golf Club, former Open Qualifying links course, Prestwick St Nicholas and the excellent parkland layout Prestwick St Cuthberts

To help golf groups, societies and tour operators looking to price their packages, the three Ayrshrie golf clubs have set their prices all the way through to April 2012. Hotels will be able to now create winter golf pacakges with the knowledge of the price and availability of the product.

The prices of the pass are as follows

Prestwick Summer Golf Pass - April through October  2010
Total  Summer Prestwick Pass £165
This shows a saving of £45 on Normal rates

Prestwick Winter Golf Pass - Nov 2010 through March 2011

Total  Winter Prestwick Pass £120
This shows a saving of £100 on Normal rates
Prestwick Summer Golf Pass - April through October  2011

Total  Summer Prestwick Pass £170
This shows a saving of £45 on Normal rates
Prestwick Winter Golf Pass - Nov 2011 through March 2012

Total  Winter Prestwick Pass £125
This shows a saving of £100 on Standard rates
Enquiries can be directed to

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Internal Appointment for VS Business Unit Announced

According to press release,
"Neil Brownlee is the new head of business tourism at VisitScotland. Neil, formerly meetings & incentives manager within the Business Tourism Unit (BTU) team, is tasked with increasing business tourism income to Scotland in the coming years.

Taking over from Caroline Packman, Neil has been with the team for two years and will build on the good work already underway under Caroline’s leadership. He comments: “In my new role, I am delighted to continue working with colleagues in the BTU and with our Scottish industry partners. We have much in the pipeline showcasing the wide array of high quality Scottish venues and service providers to a global audience of meeting and conference planners. Working closely with our industry partners, who represent some of the best hotels, venues and experiences in the world, we are in a good place to sell Scotland to this lucrative market.”

Born and bred in Edinburgh, Neil’s career in the international tourism and marketing industry includes: a business development role at leading global event caterer Sodexo; Director of Sales and Marketing at Rocco Forte’s Balmoral Hotel; and Revenue Development Manager with Le Meridien Hotels in Boston, Massachusetts.

Business Tourism is currently worth £827m a year to Scotland and accounts for 20% of total tourism expenditure, up from 18% in 2008. The BTU is forecasting a further increase in income for the Scottish economy with sights fixed on reaching the £1bn mark."

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ayrshire Winter Golf Experience

The Gailes Golf Experience have this week announced special off season rates for autumn and winter 2010-11.

In October 2010 and March 2011 you can enjoy three rounds of golf over Dundonald Links, Western Gailes and Gailes Links for £140; play between November and February for as little as £110 for a round on each course.

Winter Golf may not be for everyone but if you're looking for somewhere to play you could hardly pick better than the west coast links of Scotland - with if you're fortunate some of the finest views across to the Isle of Arran.

With the odd exception (last winter!) many courses remain playable on full greens all year round. The winter rates can't promise that and conditions are always subject to the weather but it really does offer a great value Scottish golf short break and you can tie it in with superb value room rates at some of Ayrshire's best hotels.

Off Season Green Fees (October and March) £140

Winter Green Fees (November to February) £110

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Initiative to Help Boost Scottish Tourism

A new £100,000 initiative has been launched by the Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) Scotland in a bid to help boost standards across the nation's hospitality and tourism sectors.

The Emerging Talent Scholarships programme will provide chances for the 184,000 people currently working within the industry to embark on a range of courses and experiences across the world.

Around 100 scholarships will be offered during 2011, which it is hoped will generate an additional £1m for Scotland's £4.1bn tourism economy through promoting best practice and improving staff retention.

Placements will include opportunities in Michelin-starred kitchens and at six-star resorts in Dubai, while participants can take enrol on courses at the Disney Institute, Florida, US, or the Ivy League Cornell University School of Hotel Administration in New York State, US.

HIT Scotland chief executive David Cochrane said: "The scholarship scheme is about more that training staff for the here and now. We have refined the scholarship over the years to provide long term benefits for the individuals involved, their employers and the industry.

"The experiences are about broadening horizons and raising the levels of what people think they can achieve. They come back from the scholarship having seen a new way of managing or organising their business and their career." Funding has been raised through a series of events held across the country, while a number of hospitality firms have provided sponsorship. Applications close on 31 October.

North Berwick Museum Plans 'on track'

East Lothian Council (ELC) and the Coastal Museum working party have finalised plans for the development of a new attraction in East Berwick, Scotland.

A former school building will house the new North Berwick Coastal Museum, which will see the ground floor library upgraded and the first floor museum facility reopened.

Plans are now set to be submitted for consideration and it is hoped that the attraction will be ready to open by spring 2012.

ELC cabinet member for community wellbeing Ruth Currie said: "The new museum will be known as the North Berwick Coastal Museum as it will be the focus for the wider community including Dirleton, Gullane, Aberlady and other coastal villages. "The project is very much a community partnership as local individuals and groups have been consulted on the plans for the museum via the working party."

Global Golf Tourism Recovering

More than half of golf tour operators have experienced an increase in customers booking golf holidays with them in 2010.

In total, 54 per cent of the 120 golf tour operators surveyed said there had been a noticeable increase in demand, while 38 per cent had experienced a decrease.

The figures come from the Golf Travel Insights 2010, published by professional service firm KPMG's Golf Advisory Practice.

While the results are generally positive, 42 per cent of tour operators noted that average expenditure on golf holidays had reduced, indicating lower prices in the market and greater cost consciousness among customers.

The results also indicate the effects of currency exchange fluctuations on demand in certain countries, including the UK where the devaluation of the British pound versus the euro resulted in a drop in outbound tourism, increasing demand for domestic golf travel.

When asked to look ahead, 80 per cent of golf tour operators said they anticipate a clear upswing in demand following the economic crisis, while 20 per cent forecast either stagnation or a decrease.

In the report, KPMG also predicts that established destinations, such as Spain, Portugal, the UK and Ireland will continue to dominate the golf travel market.

Turkey is the fastest emerging new golf travel destination, the survey reveals, with both demand and the number of courses in regions such as Belek continuing to grow.

Southeast Asia, including the countries of Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, are also highlighted as destination with significant potential for golf travel.

Andrea Sartori, head of KPMG's Golf Advisory Practice, said: "While the economic downturn has clearly had an impact on golf travel, as it has done with the wider travel and tourism market, the indicative results of our survey are positive. "However, it is also clear that golf tour operators, destinations and resorts should understand their customers' needs and behaviour patterns."