Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Paying too much for broadband? Move to PlusNet broadband and save£££s. Free setup now available - terms apply. PlusNet broadband.  

 

Study Shows North Coast 500 Route Added £9million Extra Spending

19th June 2017

Photograph of Study Shows North Coast 500 Route Added £9million Extra Spending

The North Coast 500 (NC500) tourist route, launched in 2015, has had a positive impact on both visitor numbers and business trade.

This is according to a new report commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Referred to as Scotland's answer to Route 66, the 516-mile NC500 was created by the North Highland Initiative (NHI). Its aim was to boost tourism in the north Highlands and generate economic opportunities for the area.

The study, carried out by the University of Glasgow Training and Employment Research Unit, estimates the route has attracted 29,000 additional visitors and £9 million additional spend in its first year.

The research drew upon various data, including figures from tourism information centres along the NC500 which showed an average 26% increase in visitor numbers since the route opened.

This compares with a 6% average increase across Highland.

Traffic data also reveals that volumes along the route were up by some 10%.

The study included interviews with accommodation providers and visitor attractions along the route, which identified an average 15% - 20% increase in trade.

Other factors would have contributed to this growth, including the fact that it was a generally strong year for tourism in Scotland and the Highlands.

However, the findings from the study, coupled with the results from a previous survey of businesses on the route by NHI, indicate that the NC500 has been a major driver of recent increases.

The report also highlighted challenges to ensure long term success of the NC500. These include maintaining the condition of the route, ensuring sufficient parking, waste facilities and public toilets, and continued efforts to encourage better driving.

It also highlighted challenges in meeting the increased demand for labour, with earlier reports suggesting the route could create upwards of 200 jobs.

Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:"The Scottish Government is strongly supportive of innovative projects, particularly those driven by industry, to encourage economic growth, and I welcome the very positive impact the North Coast 500 has had on the tourism economy in the Highlands.

"Today's report shows the route is already delivering for the north of Scotland and has tremendous potential to further benefit the communities it serves, encourage more investment in tourism facilities, stimulate jobs and expand the tourism season. I look forward to continuing to work with HIE and other partners to strengthen the growth we’re seeing as a result of the NC500’s introduction."

David Oxley, HIE’s director of business and sector development, said:“This study suggests the NC500 has very quickly had a positive impact in the north Highlands.

“Through working collectively with businesses and communities along the route, North Highland Initiative have created a distinct and exciting tourism product. It’s a product that has helped promote some of Scotland’s most stunning scenery to a global audience, whilst also providing a further boost for the Highlands and Islands’ growing tourism sector.

“With the NC500’s popularity set to be sustained over the coming years, it is crucial that we understand the impact it has on communities and businesses. This report provides a baseline to monitor this impact over time.

“The long term sustainability and success of the NC500, and responding effectively to the challenges identified in the report, will require collaboration between public agencies, businesses and communities. We very much look forward to being part of that process."

HIE has established a partnership including Police Scotland, transport Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, The Highland Council, Visit Scotland and other interests to ensure the route is developed in a sustainable way.

 

Related Businesses

 

Related Articles

Cabinet secretary stresses role of public sector in supporting NC500Thumbnail for article : Cabinet secretary stresses role of public sector in supporting NC500
The successful North Coast 500 tourist route will need strong co-ordinated support from the public sector to ensure its long term sustainability.   Experiences of the initiative should also be shared with groups around the country looking to develop similar projects.  
Hie Infrastrucuture InvestmentsThumbnail for article : Hie Infrastrucuture Investments
Short film highlighting infrastructure investments made across the Highlands and Islands and the impacts these investments are having across the energy sector..  
Highlands And Island Enterprise Appoints Chief ExecutiveThumbnail for article : Highlands And Island Enterprise Appoints Chief Executive
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has appointed a new chief executive.  Charlotte Wright, who is currently the agency's Director of Business and Sector Development, has held the role of Interim Chief Executive since the end of August last year.  
Rural Broadband Roll-Out in Highlands and Islands Reaching FurtherThumbnail for article : Rural Broadband Roll-Out in Highlands and Islands Reaching Further
More than 160,000 homes and businesses in the Highlands and Islands are now part of the high speed fibre broadband network, thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) roll-out.   Residents in more than 230 Highlands and Islands towns and villages can access the benefits of high speed services following the £146m investment in a next generation broadband network for the region.  
HIE appoints new finance directorThumbnail for article : HIE appoints new finance director
Economic and community development agency, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has appointed a new director of finance and corporate services.   Nick Kenton joins HIE on 4 July from NHS Highland.  
HIE appoints new energy directorThumbnail for article : HIE appoints new energy director
Economic and community development agency, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has appointed a new director of energy and low carbon.   Audrey MacIver of Alness in Easter Ross starts in the post today (Thursday 1 June).  
HIE reports on year-end resultsThumbnail for article : HIE reports on year-end results
Figures compiled by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) show that businesses and communities supported by the development agency achieved a strong performance in 2016/17 despite uncertain economic conditions.   Investments by HIE during the year supported businesses and social enterprises across the region to create or retain 1,688 full time equivalent jobs in the region, 169 of these in fragile areas.  
Aquaculture supply chain £1m innovation fund openThumbnail for article : Aquaculture supply chain £1m innovation fund open
Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) working in the aquaculture supply chain in the Highlands and Islands can now apply to a £1 million innovation fund, which has opened for applications.   Announced in March the 30-month pilot programme, Accelerating Aquaculture Innovation (AAI), is led by HIE, and delivered in partnership with Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC).  
Firms invited to register interest in international aquaculture show
Businesses across Scotland engaged in the aquaculture sector are being encouraged to register their interest in attending a major international trade event in Norway by 21 April.   Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is leading the Scottish delegation, in partnership with Scottish Development International (SDI), to create the first Scottish Pavilion at the Aqua Nor technology trade exhibition in Trondheim in August.  
Strong Interest From Highland Firms For Research Competition
More than 50 small firms in the Highlands and Islands involved in the life science and technology sector were given the opportunity to compete for a share of £400,000 of Scottish Government funding at an event yesterday (5 April).   Share The local firms have all signalled their interest in a competition run by the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) by attending a briefing at the HIE's An Lòchran building on the Inverness Campus in Inverness on Tuesday 4th April 2017.  

[Printer Friendly Version]