The Tourism Business Game Changer programme has supported 44 businesses across the region since it launched in 2019.
A combination of one-to-one mentoring and workshops over four months helps participants to identify target markets and use customer insights to fine tune their delivery to provide the services and experiences visitors seek.
With the region’s tourism sector pursuing post-Covid recovery, Opportunity North East funded additional places on the programme and more intensive mentoring this year, supported by the Scottish Government’s North East Economic Recovery and Skills Fund (NEERSF).
Pre-pandemic, direct tourism expenditure in the north-east contributed more than £730 million to the local economy every year.
Local businesses taking part in the latest cohort were: Deveronside Fishings & Lodges, Inverurie; House of Elrick Gin Ltd, Newmachar; Inverurie Whisky Shop; Lickleyhead Castle, Insch; Manar House, Inverurie and Newmachar Golf Club.
Chris Foy, Chief Executive of VisitAberdeenshire said: “Game Changer continues to provide an innovative platform on which small and medium size businesses can chart a course for growth.
“It is one of the ways we are underpinning the North-east’s position as a thriving and attractive tourist destination, offering a unique, quality visitor experience and creating and sustaining employment in the sector.”
Jennifer Craw, chief executive of Opportunity North East, said: “Tourism is a key industry in north east Scotland. It draws on spectacular natural assets, world-renowned premium food and drink from land and sea, and diverse cultural and historical attractions across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
"Game Changer helps cohorts of businesses provide the unique experiences that visitors increasingly demand and is part of ONE action and investment to strengthen and diversify the visitor economy.”
Applications for the next Game Changer programme will open later this year.