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IN a blow for local tourism, VisitScotland announced this afternoon (Thursday) that the Dunoon tourist office is among 39 to close in the next two years.


VisitScotland say the move will leave 26 “high-impact regional hubs”.


Staff affected by the centre closures are to be offered redundancy packages or the chance of redeployment.


VisitScotland said there had been a significant decline in the number of tourists visiting their information centres, amounting to a 58% drop in footfall over the past 10 years.


The Scottish tourism body also said that two out of three visitors to Scotland were now accessing information online and that £10m would be invested in digital activity and the new regional hubs.


The closest hubs to Dunoon will be in Rothesay, Glasgow and Oban.


The Inveraray, Tarbert and Campbeltown offices are also marked for closure.


The current number of information centres will be replaced with 1,500 "information partners", made up of local businesses, such as bed and breakfasts, distilleries or local retailers.


Four so-called "Coo Vans" will also tour the country with tourist information, attending events or popular sites, as part of the strategy.


A VisitScotland spokeswoman said: "Our staff are important to us.

"It's our clear goal to minimise job losses in the changes we are making. As well as offering voluntary redundancy, we will offer a chance to learn new skills or move to another office where feasible."


The Dunoon centre had meant to move in to the refurbished Queen's Hall building when it opens next year.


Full details and reaction in next Friday's Standard...

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