Guest house owners put Kintyre on the European map

Steve Reid, left, and Maurice Whelan have been running Carradales guest house for more than a year.
Steve Reid, left, and Maurice Whelan have been running Carradales guest house for more than a year.

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The owners of a Carradale guest house said they helped put Kintyre on the map when they attended a European Business Development Mission in Frankfurt.

Maurice Whelan and Steve Reid, who run Carradales, took part in Visit Scotland’s second Pan-European Workshop in November and described it as a very exciting and worthwhile experience.

They were given the opportunity to expand their market reach and engage new potential clients through face-to-face meetings with 17 European tour operators – from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Ireland – across the two-day event.

Maurice told the Courier: ‘It was an opportunity to promote not just our business but the whole area – to encourage people away from Scotland’s overcrowded tourist hot-spots to the lesser known hidden gems like this.

‘Everyone was really interested in what we have to offer – in fact, we recently got our first booking, from a German company, as a result of attending the workshop.

‘It was a great networking event, which welcomed hotels and tourism providers from across Scotland.

‘I believe it’s not just going to benefit us, but the whole of Kintyre and other local businesses. It will help to put Kintyre on the map.’

Maurice and Steve agreed that the event was very well organised, adding: ‘VisitScotland had lined up appointments with tour operators who were looking for new products or things off the beaten track.

‘There was also a drinks reception and networking dinner, as well as digital marketing and branding presentations, so there were other benefits to the experience.’

Carradales has prospered since it opened in April 2018, receiving a five-star grading from VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance Scheme earlier this year.

And the good news continues, with Maurice and Steve finding out in December that they have been shortlisted for the Rural Hospitality Award at the Scottish Rural Awards, which are set to take place on April 2, 2020.

The guesthouse is up against nine other accommodation providers which are among the best in the business: The Three Chimneys, Invercassley Cottage B&B, The Majestic Line, Glenegedale House Islay, RiverBeds Luxury Wee Lodges, Nethy House Café and Rooms, Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Golf & Spa, The Coll Hotel, and Tigh na Mara Guesthouse.

‘We’re in good company,’ Maurice said. ‘We’re all winners, even if we don’t win.

‘I believe we’ve got something special here. Steve’s reputation as a chef goes before him. You just need to read our reviews – people really seem to enjoy it here, where we try to offer something a bit different.

‘It’s all about creating memories. It’s lovely that people are choosing to spend their money coming to visit us and Kintyre.’