Kate Forbes MSP (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) has become a Highland Tourism Community Interest Company Ambassador.
She will support the membership organisation’s efforts to create a world-leading sustainable destination in the Highlands.
Ms Forbes has previously supported the tourism industry as a local MSP, and Finance Secretary.
She will engage with the tourism sector across the Highlands, focusing on strategic tourism development.
Ms Forbes will work with Highland Tourism CIC to host a roadshow over the coming months to encourage business and community leaders across the region to work together and to discuss ways of ensuring the area becomes a world-leading exemplar in sustainable development.
The vision is to drive the regeneration of the Highlands.
Ms Forbes said:
“Tourism is a vital sector for Scotland and particularly the Highland region.
“Highland Tourism CIC’s approach, which is community driven and has private sector investment and buy-in, makes economic and cultural sense.
“I believe they will get things done, creating immediate and long-term positive impact.
“I am delighted to provide support as an Ambassador for the tourism industry.
“I will do all I can to support Highland Tourism’s ambitions to make significant investment in tourism development for the region and have proposed a series of meetings with business leaders to explore how we can work more closely in the region to make the Highlands attractive to visitors and businesses from around the world.
“I am particularly interested in the role Highland Tourism CIC can play to present the Highlands as a better place to live, work, visit, study and invest.
“This is critical for our future.”
There are 150 Ambassadors in the organisation with a board of directors comprising leading tourism businesses in the region such as Cabot Highlands and Nevis Range.
The CIC has had private sector investment to the value of £400,000, of which £150,00 comes from founding sponsorship from Tomatin Distillery.
Highland Tourism CIC Ambassadors communicate the values of conscious travel.
They have a sustainable mission and share the organisation’s story, gathering support from colleagues, business associates, communities, councillors, politicians and tourism influencers.
Yvonne Crook, Chair of Highland Tourism CIC said:
“This is a huge boost to our efforts, to have such a hard-working and knowledgeable MSP providing her support.
“Highland Tourism CIC was established in 2020 with an ambition to invest millions of pounds annually in a tourism strategy that will transform the way we do tourism.
“Kate has encouraged our work since the very early days and has made a number of fantastic suggestions for progress.
“To have her join our Ambassadors underlines the fact that we are here to stay and that we have significant potential value to offer the tourism sector and the Highlands as both a brand and a destination.
“We are working to unite all key stakeholders and Highland brands behind a regenerative tourism strategy that will enhance our communities, our economy and our environment.
“We are very excited about Kate’s idea of a series of presentations throughout the Highlands to engage business leaders and we will provide more details on that as we finalise our plans.”
Chris O’Brien, Managing Director of Nevis Range and HTCIC Director added:
“We have a unique network of Ambassadors at all levels of tourism across the Highlands that believe there is a more sustainable way to do tourism business and a far greater opportunity for the Highlands as a whole if we invest together.
“Premium environmental brand Highlands will enable us to attract higher value visitors and invest more in climate change and nature crisis both financially and through our businesses and visitors contributions.
“We are delighted our ambassador network is now hugely enhanced with Kate’s agreement to give us her support.”