We work closely with businesses and community groups to make sure that Arran remains an ‘island in balance’: Community, Environment: Economy. This is essential as we need to protect the island’s natural resources for residents and visitors for years to come. The company was established back in 2007 with just a few businesses and now we have over 240 businesses, representing all sectors: Accommodation, Activity, Attraction, Food & Drink, Retail, Services, and also local charities.
On a daily basis we deal with visitor concerns, accommodation requests and social media. We are recognised as a leading DMO and and excellent conduit for information. As such we liase with VisitScotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Government, North Ayrshire Council, CalMac, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and indeed many other agencies on an ad hoc basis.
The company is registered with Companies House and is managed by a Board of voluntary Directors, all living and working on Arran, each giving of their time and representing different aspects of Arran’s vibrancy. For 2023/24, the Board of Directors is as follows:
- Andrew Walsh. Andrew is our Chair, and is probably best known as the owner of Arran Active where he can often be spotted on the shop floor! A real outdoor enthusiast, Andrew is also very community focussed which makes him a great chairman to have!
- Tom Jessop. Tom is our Vice Chair and also our Finance Director. Tom and his wife Emma own and run Balmichael Glamping and Arran Alpacas, with their three young sons. As Mrs J also teaches, Tom is very hands on in all aspects of both businesses
- Lorna Gunaydi. Lorna's family has run the Old Byre Showroom for 40 + years. Lorna and her husband Hamza expanded the business with Café Thyme, the Shoe Bothy and great outdoor play, to become the Old Byre Visitor Centre. She also runs The Byre @Brodick
- Robbie Crawford. Robbie’s family has owned and managed the Kinloch Hotel for over 65 yrs. The hotel is the second biggest on Arran and is the largest employer in the west of the island. Kinloch also plays a big part in community life in Shiskine Valley.
- Jude King. Jude keeps us on track with all things environmental, which is vital if we are to remain an island in balance, our environment needs to be at the core of all activity. She works with NAC on Community Wealth Building, which is at the heart of everything VisitArran does!
- Chris Traill. Chris is a co-Director of Lochranza Centre CIC. Although this is a residential outdoor centre, Chris also delivers activity sessions for families when time permits, and is very involved in the community. Chris is also a Trustee for our sister company, the Arran Trust.
- Sarah Pomfret. In her past career, Sarah worked for Scottish Enterprise, and now works with her husband in Number 16 Arran, delivering pop-up restaurants all over Arran – and she’s a celebrant!
- Rachel Armitage. Rachel and her husband run several businesses. These include Arran Haulage, Armitage Groundworks and Park Avenue Caravan Park – a very varied portfolio which makes Rachel a busy lady indeed!
- Ailsa Currie. Ailsa and her husband farm at Bellevue, and she has diversified into Farm Tours, which make a real impact, following the field-to-fork ethos. Ailsa is our agritourism expert, and is one of Scotland’s Regional Food Ambassadors.
VisitArran’s day-to-day operations are led by a small staff team. This includes liaising with businesses, community and stakeholders, dealing with visitor queries, and making sure any marketing messages encourage sustainable tourism. The staff team are:
- Sheila Gilmore. Sheila is the Chief Executive for VisitArran, and has worked for the company – and the Arran Trust - since 2012. Sheila’s role is very varied! She is also a member of the Destination Forum for the Scottish Tourism Alliance.
- Katie Murchie. Katie is the Customer Services Assistant and lives on the island’s only dairy farm, at Tigheanfraoch. You might see her popping on to stock up the ferry desk, or dealing directly with your visitor queries.
- Erin McAllister. Erin shares the Customer Service role with Katie and has a long association with and love for Arran.
Whatever your Arran query, even if not directly related to tourism, we are here to help – if we don’t know, we will know someone who does!