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VisitAberdeenshire has added its support to Aberdeen Inspired’s Back the BID campaign, with the organisation stating culture and events are essential to attract visitors back to the city.

Chris Foy, chief executive officer of VisitAberdeenshire, which promotes visitor experiences across the North-east, believes the work being done by Aberdeen Inspired makes the city an attractive location for tourists.

City hotels have also added their support, which comes as VisitAberdeenshire has unveiled a new brand identity for the region, with marketing activity stepping up attract visitors to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

VisitAberdeenshire will adopt ‘Majestic Aberdeenshire’ for many of its visitor and travel industry-facing promotions, reflecting the area’s unique coastline, landscapes and architecture, and world class food and drink offering.

The brand will be supported by a complementary advertising campaign, Above and Beyond, to recognise the quality of the visitor experience here in the North-east.

Chris Foy said retaining the BID is vital as the city looks to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“People don’t just visit cities. They need great reasons to decide where to spend their time and money. In recent years, the work of Aberdeen Inspired has been at the heart of providing reasons to choose Aberdeen,” he said.

“The Nuart international street art festival has drawn visitors from afar to explore world class street art, Restaurant Week has become a calendar highlight and Inspired Nights on the Green have brought a new perspective to the night time experience.

"Aberdeen is all the richer for these events. And this work is all the more important as we recover from the effect of the pandemic and invite visitors back to our city.”

In line with Scotland’s other BIDs, Aberdeen Inspired must ballot the businesses within the BID footprint every five years.

A successful ballot on June 24 will ensure it can continue working on behalf of local shops, bars, restaurants, property owners, landlords, shopping centres and all other city centre businesses until at least 2026.

Mary Martin, director of the Aberdeen Douglas Hotel on Market Street, added her support, saying: "Now more than ever, we need Aberdeen Inspired to help Aberdeen and all its partners to work together to optimise and promote our strengths with a positive, consistent message.

"Visitors can expect a warm welcome, great city centre hotels and lots to do, from award winning art, our wonderful Nuart paintings, cultural and historic gems, the finest local food, a craft beer trail and so much more. Looking ahead. it is vital the BID continues to co-ordinate and work alongside local businesses and public bodies to help stimulate an upbeat future for Aberdeen city centre."

Aberdeen Inspired was established to attract, sustain and boost investment in Aberdeen’s city centre for the benefit of its levy payers and all those who live, work, shop and visit there.

In addition to the levy payments, which go to support city centre improvements and initiatives, the BID brought in an additional £2million in other funding in 2020, almost double what is collected by levy. An achievement that would not have been possible without Aberdeen Inspired, it means that for every £1 of levy collected, at least £2 is invested in the city centre.

The average levy equates to around £5 per week - at just 1% of rateable value, it is the lowest in the country.

In recognition of the challenging times faced by businesses as a result of the pandemic, the levy in Aberdeen would be reduced by half in the first term (2021-22), dropping to just 0.5% of rateable value for the first year. 

The BID footprint covers Union Street and the surrounding streets, including Broad Street, Market Street, Bridge Street, Huntly Street and Holburn Junction.

Eligible businesses have until 5pm on June 24 to have their say.