Web site archived
The visitscotland.com web site has been brought back under the control of VisitScotland; they have paid £1.25 million for the company and time will tell if this was a wise decision!
The decision has been taken to archive this website for the present time; it remains available to the many people who use it as an authorative resource on the turbulent history of vs.com!
7 November 2008
In the week following the publication of E Tourism's accounts, VisitScotland has announced that it has reached agreement to bring the national tourism website VisitScotland.com back into public ownership.
The accounts show that E Tourism made a pre tax loss of over £1.3 million , money taken for bookings was down by 4% and total losses for the company were running at over £12 million .
VisitScotland has produced a press release which can be viewed by clicking here
VisitScotland's spin machine has been running in overdrive during the last few days. They claim that this decision has nothing to do with finance, that the web site will continue as before, no staff redundancies will be made and that all their decisions have been correct. The only fault has been that the site visitor has failed to behave as expected!
The article in The Scotsman indicates that VisitScotland has paid £1.2 million for E tourism. Rather worringly, Philip Riddle, the chief executive, admitted he was having to fund the £1.2 million bail-out from his budget.
Phillip Riddle owes it to the industry to give a full and honest report of what has happened. With public money involved we do need to ensure that the mistakes that clearly have been made are not going to be repeated. Let us have an end to the spin so that we can all move forward to ensure the future of Tourism in Scotland.
The Goverment's Ecomony Energy and Tourism committee published its long awaited report on 10 July 2008. The full report can be found by clicking on this link.
The summary relating to visitscotland.com is as follows
"254. With respect to VisitScotland.com, we believe that the current business model is patently flawed and obsolete. We recommend that this is rethought, focusing on information provision and a comprehensive, free listing service and does not attempt to provide accommodation availability and booking services directly to users but refers them on. We further recommend that the Scottish Government investigates whether additional resources can be provided to move towards the free provision of software for companies to be web-enabled and the extra training and support that will be necessary."
The report was highly critical of the national tourist agency, VisitScotland, which, it said, delivered poor performance, lacked leadership and direction, and had no remit for investment in the area. It quoted one critic as saying: “Scottish tourism is a disaster. VisitScotland is not working, other than as a bed bureau.?The report contrasted the failure of the agency with the success of its counterpart in the Irish Republic, and recommended a new national tourism organisation with responsibility for development, investment, marketing and training.