The Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA), the body which represents the interests of the visitor attractions sector in Scotland, is offering attractions across the country the opportunity to experience a range of business benefits at no cost, with the launch of a FREE two-month temporary membership offer.

The offer has been launched to help mitigate the devastating effects of the Covid-19 crisis on the attractions sector and enable as many businesses as possible to access the support ASVA can provide.

Attractions taking advantage of the offer can: receive regular updates and news on what is happening within the attractions sector in Scotland; participate in ASVA’s training and development programme, which includes bespoke events and workshops tailor-made for visitor attractions; access resources and practical support to help them operate in a COVID-compliant manner; ensure their voice is heard in all major matters of policy at a national level; join ASVA’s LinkedIn community, sharing useful information and articles related to attractions management; and access special rates and promotions on goods and services provided by ASVA trade members.

ASVA Chief Executive Gordon Morrison said: “In light of the extremely challenging circumstances that the Scottish tourism industry is facing, ASVA is keen to reach out to - and assist - attractions not currently in membership. ASVA continues to work exceptionally hard for the attractions sector as we navigate through this crisis. Since the pandemic started ASVA has supported our members - and the attractions industry - by co-hosting webinars and e-networking events, with more than 2000 industry professionals engaging with these events, and providing regular Industry communications to keep our members informed about key sector-specific information such as funding, events and guidance relating to COVID-19.

“We are the recognised voice of the attractions sector with the Scottish and UK Governments and have held regular meetings with ministers and officials, providing data and insights on the impact of the crisis and lobbying for sector specific support. We played an active part in the Scottish Government-led Tourism Recovery Taskforce, which was tasked with proposing actionable recommendations for Scottish Ministers and the UK Government on the essential actions to support tourism and hospitality recovery in Scotland, and are in regular contact with key partners, ensuring that the specific concerns of the attractions sector continue to be recognised at all times.

“As industry experts, we have also contributed to the sector-specific guidance on the safe re-opening of visitor attractions and continue to liaise directly with the Scottish Government on this, raising issues and getting answers to any industry specific questions as the guidance continues to evolve and change.

“ASVA is a membership organisation that receives no government funding, so we rely on income generated from membership activities to survive. Despite this, we have not charged for any of our webinar or e-learning activities to date. To help us engage with as much of the industry as possible, this free temporary membership offer allows those currently not in ASVA membership to benefit from our services free of charge for a two month period, to help businesses navigate their way through the crisis.

“Uptake of the offer since its launch has been extremely encouraging, with some 20 attractions having already taken advantage of the free membership trial.

“Our goal is to extend this opportunity as widely as possible throughout the community, enabling us to fully represent the attractions industry in our communications with key stakeholders, as well as making our support as cost effective as possible at this difficult time.

“We were particularly delighted to welcome the three Whyte & Mackay Distillery Visitor Centres at Jura, Fettercairn and Dalmore into full membership recently, following a successful trial membership period.

Commenting on Whyte & Mackay’s decision to join ASVA, Kieran Healey-Ryder, Head of Whisky Discovery at Whyte & Mackay said: “We may not be able to welcome people to Scotland right now, but we look forward to doing so in the future. As a community, the attractions sector is experiencing a truly unprecedented period with the impact of Covid-19. The work that ASVA do is invaluable to Scottish tourism during this challenging period and beyond.”

Aberdeen Science Centre, which has just reopened to the public following a major refurbishment, has also recently joined the organisation. Bryan Snelling, Chief Executive Officer, said:

“We were offered the 2-month trial membership to see how ASVA might be able to support Aberdeen Science Centre. I found it to be an excellent source of information relating to Scottish visitor attractions but especially around the current, ever-changing Covid-19 regulations and requirements we need to follow. This allowed us to be certain of the reassurance message we were giving out to the public. A number of our staff attended the free webinars available and found them to be invaluable and extremely useful in their roles as well as supporting and encouraging new ideas and networking opportunities. I personally have found the regular newsletters to be incredibly informative and at the end of the 2-month period, had no hesitation in continuing our membership of ASVA”.

In addition to the two-month free membership offer for attractions, ASVA is currently offering free temporary individual membership to industry colleagues displaced by the Covid-19 crisis, to enable them to access the support ASVA can offer until they find a new role.

For further information on the free membership offers, contact Helen Henderson, ASVA Membership Manager at [email protected], Tel. 07458 306982.

Issued by: Gillian Harrower, Tourism and Leisure Solutions | Tel. 07585 945181 | E: [email protected]