The importance of architecture and design in regenerating Europe’s cold water islands will top the agenda at the second annual Cold Water Islands Tourism Conference this month.
Returning to Scotland’s Isle of Arran from 14-16 March, the conference will build on last year’s inaugural event
that attracted some 100 practitioners and academics.
Based on the concept that cold water islands, particularly those in the North Atlantic, face common tourism opportunities and challenges, the conference has been set up to tackle strategies for economic growth using these countries’ natural resources.
According to the European Commission’s Blue Growth
Strategy (2014), Europe’s coastal and maritime tourism industry employs more than 3.2m people and generates €183bn (US$201bn, £142bn) of gross value added – representing one third of the total maritime economy and one third of all tourism businesses in Europe.
This year’s conference features a programme of inspiring case studies, challenging debates and discussions, alongside networking events taking place in some of Arran’s iconic venues and celebrating the island’s heritage and local products.
The Scottish government, through its tourism agency, Visit Scotland, is actively promoting design and architecture as a major theme for developing tourism. Consequently, the organisers of this year’s Cold Water Island’s Tourism annual conference will explore how innovative approaches to design, art and architecture can positively enhance the visitor experience and help develop sustainable island tourism destinations.
“This programme has been developed to allow the creative sectors to meet community representatives, destination managers and businesses involved in tourism to share perspectives and experiences,” said event director Alastair Dobson of Visit Arran and Taste of Arran.
“The outcome will be innovative ideas to help cold water island, tourism-based, economies develop and become stronger. Although the environmental contexts of many islands are sensitive and fragile, at the same time, they are sites of great potential for developing innovative solutions and new uses.”