A SPECIAL event aimed at helping Clackmannanshire businesses capitalise on the opportunities offered by the growing tourism sector will be held next week.

Taking place on the evening of Tuesday, February 23 at Inglewood House & Spa, it is being organised by VisitScotland on behalf of the partners in the Discover Clackmannanshire group.

It’s one of the first events in the country for tourism businesses following the launch of VisitScotland’s new ‘Spirit of Scotland’ brand, website and #ScotSpirit social media movement launched last week.

VisitScotland’s head of customer experience, Vicki Miller, will speak at the free event to provide insight into the Spirit of Scotland campaign, which will involve TV, radio, print and digital advertising and social media.

She will be encouraging Wee County businesses such as accommodation providers, attractions, restaurants and bars to so ensure they benefit from the campaign’s profile by taking full advantage of a free listing on the new visitscotland.com website.

Attendees will also find out about the key projects in a new tourism strategy for Clackmannanshire to 2020 designed to drive business growth in the area.

They will hear from tourism industry expert Kim Proven, chair of the Loch Earn Tourism Information group, who will speak about the successes that can be achieved for an area through partnership working.

They will also have the chance to browse a Business Support Marketplace, comprising stands by Ceteris/Business Gateway, Clackmannanshire Works, Digital Tourism Scotland, Forth Valley & Lomond LEADER and VisitScotland.

VisitScotland Regional Partnerships director, Liz Buchanan MBE, who will host the event, said: “The launch of our Spirit of Scotland campaign presents a huge opportunity for businesses and areas to increase their profile. Our website, visitscotland.com, is seen by 20 million unique visitors a year, so making the most of a free listing is good sense for businesses and the area as a whole. More Clackmannanshire businesses on the website means richer content on Clackmannanshire, making the area more attractive to visitors.”

“We have designed this event around business support, setting out as many free opportunities as possible, so it really is not to be missed by retailers, cafes, bars, accommodation providers or anyone else in the local tourism industry.”

Councillor Donald Basillie, convener of Enterprise & Environment at Clackmannanshire Council said:

“I am very pleased to see this event taking place in Clackmannanshire. There are exciting opportunities ahead for the tourism industry in Clackmannanshire, new businesses have opened, and others have grown.

"In addition, we are well placed to take advantage of Scotland's theme years, having much to contribute to the 2016 Year of Architecture, Design and Innovation, and the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. This is an excellent opportunity to work in partnership to showcase our vibrant heritage, and we look forward to finding out how our local businesses would like to get involved.”

The event will run from 5.30pm to 8pm.

It will include the opportunity for networking over drinks and canapes as well as a tour of Inglewood House.

Businesses need to register their free place online at https://clackmannanshire2016.eventbrite.co.uk