The Highland Tourism Partnership has announced plans for a collective way forward for the Highland tourism industry following the pandemic.
The Highland Tourism Partnership (HTP), is bringing together destination organisations and public sector partners from across the Highlands to work collectively for the long-term benefit of the whole area, including North Coast 500 Ltd; VisitScotland; Highland Council; NatureScot; Wester Ross Tourism; Venture North; Visit Inverness Loch Ness; Cairngorms Business Partnership; Visit Moray Speyside; Skye Connect; and Lochaber ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’.
Partnership Chair Frazer Coupland (pictured) from Lochaber said:
“The Highland Tourism Partnership has reconvened with a very clear intention.
“We want to make sure that visitors to the Highlands have fantastic experiences, while also making sure that we balance that with community expectation and care for our iconic Highland location.”
As a partnership of Destination Management Organisations, the HTP collectively represents over 2,000 businesses in Highland, from across all sectors involved in tourism, including hotels, B&Bs, visitor attractions, guided tours, and food & drink.
With such a strong base in community businesses, views of local communities are also key to the approach.
Tom Campbell, Executive Chair of North Coast 500 Ltd, said:
“I’m delighted that the Highland Tourism Partnership is demonstrating the strength of activity across all areas of the Highlands to attract visitors who are critically important to the economy, sustainability and growth of communities.
“From small groups in the North Highlands to the large area tourism groups we are, collectively and individually working together and building on the huge success that’s already been achieved in making the Highlands of Scotland a jewel for Scottish tourism.”
The HTP works to inform and influence national tourism policy and support sustainable development through the Scottish Tourism Alliance and working with national tourism bodies.
Chris Taylor, VisitScotland’s Regional Director said:
“This last year has been the most challenging ever for tourism businesses across the country.
“We know however, that tourism is very resilient and will bounce back, again helping to create vibrancy in our towns and cities, supporting businesses and creating much needed employment in our communities.
“We can only achieve this by working together and I am delighted to be working with tourism leaders across Highland, through the Highland Tourism Partnership, to make sure we grab the opportunities ahead of us, and manage tourism in a responsible way that creates real benefits for everyone.”
Partnership Chair, Frazer Coupland, from Lochaber Chamber of Commerce is pleased by the progress of HTP so far.
“We’ve agreed our key priorities for the year ahead and four priority pillars in line with the national tourism strategy ‘Scotland Outlook 2030’ and local tourism strategies.”
The four pillars of the Highland Tourism Partnership’s focus are:
Customer Experience – delivering a world-class customer experience and working with our communities across the Highlands to balance the needs of communities and visitors.
Skills – tapping into the tourism recovery initiatives launched recently by SDS and HIT to ensure that businesses in the Highlands benefit from quality training to support an already skilful and valued workforce.
Responsible tourism – developing and marketing the Highlands as a responsible tourism destination, showcasing the diversity of what is on offer to visitors and working with VisitScotland to extend the season.
Collaboration – the HTP works on behalf of more than 2,000 businesses in Highland to lead the management of the Highland brand together with public agencies.
Local communities are the heart of the Highland Tourism Partnership’s approach to looking after and developing the Highlands for the long-term sustainable benefit of our special area and its people.
Michael Golding, CEO of Visit Inverness Loch Ness, added:
“Communities are the heart of Scottish tourism, as destinations we celebrate our area’s identity – the culture, people and places that make our home unique, and share it with the world.
“Visit Inverness Loch Ness represents a renowned destination and comes together with other industry representative organisations, together totalling thousands of businesses, to make a meaningful difference on the issues that matter most.
“We are proud to be working closely with destination neighbours and colleagues, for a strong Highland recovery and restoration of our thriving tourism industry.”