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Friendly Town's six of the best for visitors

11 June 2010

A COMMUNITY proud of its “Friendly Town” status has issued a VIP invitation to tourists and day visitors to come and see for themselves what it has to offer.

Keith Tourism Action Group has set up a network of six Visitor Information Points (VIP) around the town.

They focus on key subjects of local interests and visitor attractions and local businesses specialising in these areas.

The six VIPs are:

  • Railway heritage – Keith and Dufftown Railway
  • Scots language and Robert Burns – Mither Tongue
  • Heritage and history – Smiths Coaches
  • Whisky history and distilling – Strathisla Distillery
  • Accommodation and booking – Boogie Woogie
  • Walking – Thirteen Moons

Key staff involved in the businesses have undergone special ambassador training in customer and visitor care.

Comprehensive Keith visitor information guides have been placed in all the VIPs in a bid to enhance people’s visits to the towns and help them plan their activities while they are there.

The VIP launch took place in the historic Strathisla Distillery.

Gwenda Michielsen, chairwoman of Keith Tourism Action Group, said the aim was to bring together passionate ambassadors for the town.

“We want people to have a fantastic experience in Keith and find out why we are called the Friendly Town. We have pride in our past and our present,” she said.

Mrs Michielsen, who runs a bed-and-breakfast business close to Strathisla Distillery, said the VIP launch was the culmination of two years of hard work.

Running in tandem with the VIPs, the group has printed more than 30,000 “Welcome to Keith” brochures which will be distributed across Aberdeenshire, Inverness-shire, Moray and Royal Deeside.

The aim is to attract people to Keith for day visits or for short breaks.

“At the moment a lot of people drive through the town and don’t really see what it has to offer,” Mrs Michielsen said.

Originally from Holland, Mrs Michielsen has been in Keith for four years and is passionate about the town. “I hope we can raise awareness. Keith is like Scotland in miniature,” she added.

The brochure tells people a bit about the history of the town which stretches back almost 2000 years. It also lets people know some of the activities they can take part in, including distillery visits, fishing, railway journeys, walking, family history, golf, leisure activities and shopping.

More than 25 local businesses have supported the publication which gives visitors a detailed map of the main shopping areas and some of the main businesses in the town.

The Keith initiative has received support from a number of organisations, among them Highlands and Islands Enterprise Moray, Moray Tourism Development, Moray Towns Partnership, Keith Regeneration Partnership and the Keith and District Heritage Group.

(The Northern Scot)

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