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Work of local group to promote the North Highlands as a top tourism destination

19th November 2013

At yesterday’s (Monday 18 November 2014) Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee, members heard about the work been done by the North Highland Initiative to develop tourism in the Area with Tom Campbell, Chief Executive outlining some of the exciting destination development projects planned over the next 12 months.

The North Highland Initiative (NHI) was launched in August 2005 to promote and develop the economy and to support the rural communities of the North Highlands bringing together the farming community, local businesses and the tourism industry to try to address some of the challenges facing rural communities in the far north of Scotland by creating a powerful regional identity for the area through marketing.

During his presentation Tom Campbell highlighted that in the last 6 months over 3 million people had been reached by the Initiative’s activities which have included attending the Royal Highland Show, launching the Wild North campaign and the 17 events that were run in Caithness and Sutherland as part of the Wild Flower Europe project. He said: “We are focussed on our message that the North Highlands is an incredible part of the UK to visit and we see our role very much as helping communities to develop destinations that tourists will want to visit.”

Tourism is identified as one of Scotland’s key growth sectors and is one of the most important industries for the Highlands with 2012 figures showing tourism to be worth £90m to the Caithness and Sutherland Economy.

Leader of the Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee, Councillor Deirdre Mackay welcomed the chance to hear more about the work of the North Highland Initiative and is delighted the council has entered into a service level agreement that sees £10,000 of funding be given by the Council to help the group to deliver a range of activities and special promotions to market the North Highlands as a must visit destination.

She said: “I’m delighted to see that this industry led group are taking the lead across the North Highlands and the Council has been able to support them. This ties in very nicely with The Highland Council’s Programme commitment to maximise the tourism potential of the Highland by working to ensure effective support is given to communities so promote our unique Highland identities and to help open up new tourism opportunities.

“Next year is an extremely important year for tourism in Scotland with major international events including the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup as well as lots of Homecoming events taking place so we need to ensure local tourism businesses and organisations tap into this huge potential. From what I have heard today the North Highland Initiative have the drive, energy and creativity to do this and we look forward working closely with them to support their efforts in promoting the area as a top tourism destination.”


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