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Letters / Arrogant ignorance from Jackie Who?

I recently saw this letter from someone called Jackie at the ‘VisitScotland Information Team’, in reply to a member of the public who complained about the proposal to close the highly successful and indispensable Tourist Information Centre at the Market Cross in Lerwick.

Jackie did not sign her full name. I don’t blame her. She may well be embarrassed to be ordered by her functionally illiterate superiors to send out this condescending, patronising glop instead of answering the questions. But I suppose she needed the money (our money, by the way).

If any of your readers can supply a translation in plain English (or any other language) of this weird document they would be performing a public service, which Jackie, or whatever algorithm wrote it for her, is not. Presumably ‘A.I.’ was involved at some stage. The initials appear to stand for Arrogant Ignorance.

The lamentable email read as follows:

“Thank you for your email. I confirm your comments have been noted. ‘Our decision to close our iCentre network follows a wider review of our information strategy which looked at where VisitScotland should focus our expertise to grow the value of the visitor economy.

“After considering a wide range of research and insights which looked at how visitors plan and book their holidays, we found the majority of visitors plan all aspects of their holiday before they leave home, gaining inspiration from online sources or tour operators and travel agents. VisitScotland therefore has a much greater role to play in getting information to visitors at this earlier stage of their holiday planning. By doing this we can influence where, when and how long they visit.

“VisitScotland has an excellent track record of evolving and this is the next stage in that evolution. We must ensure that we make the best use of the funds we have and by making some changes to the way we deliver our activities, we will be able to ensure we make the biggest impact to grow the value of the visitor economy.

We recognise the importance of community tourism and believe that visitors will continue to get information from locals – whether that be at the accommodation they’re staying at, in a local pub or when out and about at a local shop or visitor attraction. Visitors cite the Scottish welcome as one of the reasons they love to come here. Scottish locals play an integral part in what makes their Scottish holiday experiences more enjoyable.

“We will keep interested parties and local stakeholders updated as this programme develops.”

In other words, the arrogant ignoramuses are not going to change their minds. Call me a crusty old duffer if you like, but this garbage is not good enough.

I have highlighted some of the clumsy, automatic writing that can cause apoplexy in retired copy editors such as your correspondent.

Jonathan Wills
(Founder, Seabirds-and-Seals; former Chairman, Shetland Tourism Association.)


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