“Celtic Fringe” started out over 14 years ago, following a series of local meetings on the subject of Rural Tourism. It became clear that many people felt that there was a need for a local community group who could identify and develop tourism based proposals for this area, working co-operatively with organisations such as VisitScotland , HIE, and Highland Council.
We are a membership group, non profit making, and seek to develop our activities as being sustainable and accountable to those who live and work in this area.
We will NOT send custom directly to its members, unless visitors pick up details on the website. What we aim to do is to raise the profile of the area as a whole – this will have a long term effect of attracting more people to Wester Ross and ultimately into our homes, shops, or hotels.
Following our 2012 AGM, we were renamed "Visit Wester Ross - The Celtic Fringe", and the work on rebranding and rebuilding this website started.
Over the years:
• The Wester Ross Coastal Trail was set up, guiding visitors around the main A832 road that connects most of the communities in the area
• We now operate websites under www.celticfringe.org.uk and www.visitwester-ross.com , each with approximately 14,000 user sessions per month at the time of writing. These have now merged. Additionally, there is an online page at facebook.com/Wester.Ross.
• Several booklets and information guides have been published, the most recent being “Slow Down in Wester Ross”, with a circulation of 25,000 copies
• We have produced regular local information packs that are handed out free of charge to accommodation and activity providers throughout the area
- We have operated several events and festivals during the last few years.
• We work with similar groups throughout Wester Ross, and the rest of the Highland area
• We are working with the Gairloch High School to restore “Travel and Tourism” as a recognised curriculum subject for 2nd - 6th year pupils
• On behalf of the major tourism groups in the area, we promote and manage the Wester Ross brand “Live the Highlands”
• All of our members are linked in an E-mail based information network, and can access training and opportunities in skills such as Social Media, Marketing, First Aid, and others as requested.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing - we went very quickly from a small group in the immediate area of Gairloch to (now) representing 140 members throughout the region. We have a committee formed by representatives from different areas, who are in regular contact on e – mail, using this as one of our principal development tools. Members receive regular news on email, meetings are held, and we try to work together to address issues which concern us all.
The future? Looking at transport issues, linking with similar groups in the UK / Ireland / Europe, developing local projects such as cycle and walking tracks, and finally, giving local people and visitors a voice - you tell us what you want done!