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Scottish tourism industry website was badly handled, MSPs say

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VisitScotland, the Government body set up to promote the Scottish tourism and hospitality industry, made significant mistakes when setting up its dedicated website, according to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee.

In a report published this May, the Audit Committee said VisitScotland “could have achieved better value for the public purse by using a different business model” to develop the website.

The committee found that eTourism Limited initially adopted a business model which was unachievable and based on a failed understanding of the demand within the tourism industry for online booking.

The VisitScotland website was intended to help attract more visitors to the country and facilitate bookings, but the Auditor General for Scotland came out with a very critical report on the project and the busines model that underpinned it.

Audit Committee Convener, Hugh Henry MSP said: “We recognise the value of the website to VisitScotland and to Scotland’s tourist industry as a whole but we believe that it might have been possible for VisitScotland to secure its initial aims at a smaller cost to the public purse.”