Business Group Wants Highlands to be Top Sustainable Tourism Destinations

A new business tourism group has set a target for the Highlands to become one of the world’s leading sustainable destinations.

The ambition was outlined at the inaugural board meeting of Highland Tourism CIC (Community Interest Company), which was formed to help the sector in its post-Covid recovery.

At the same time, the group has welcomed three new directors. They are Stuart McColm, general manager of Castle Stuart Golf Links, Chris O’Brien, managing director of Nevis Range, and Willie Cameron, business development director at Cobbs.

Highland Tourism says it hopes to broaden the leadership team soon with representation from the north Highlands and Moray.

Mr McColm said: “I understand that we live in a very special part of the world and we want people from around the globe to come to the Highlands and see it for themselves. That’s why I am glad to be working in partnership with Highland Tourism.

“The organisation has a vision for the region that will aid the recovery from the pandemic as well as enhance tourism for visitors and local businesses alike, but at the same time protect what we have through the values of conscious travel and sustainable development.”

Mr O’Brien said: “After what has been the most challenging 12 months ever for the tourism industry globally it is fantastic to see the creation of an initiative that will aid our recovery from the pandemic and set a standard for the years to come.

“The beauty of the Highlands must be preserved for future generations and visitors from all over the world. Initiatives like this make that ambition a reality.

“Sustainable tourism is our number one objective at Nevis Range and at the centre of every decision we make.”

Mr Cameron described Highland Tourism as “oozing with passion and ambition” to promote the Highlands as a global brand, with a vision to develop a sustainable business model.

At the first board meeting it was agreed that the group would work towards being regarded as one of the world’s leading sustainable tourism destinations, “based on the principles of engaged communities, collaborative working, business-level innovation and adherence to the United Nations’ global sustainable development goals”.

Yvonne Crook, Highland Tourism CIC co-founder and chairperson, said: “The energy and passion from the business and wider community for this private sector-led initiative has demonstrated the scale of the ambition that exists for the Highlands to become one of the world’s leading sustainable tourism destinations.

“To achieve this goal we must learn from the best, working in a global environment with destination specialists. I am delighted to take the role of chair of the organisation, working together with such an ambitious and energetic group of leaders.”

Sam Faircliff, co-founder and vice-chairperson, said: “This is a watershed moment for tourism in the Highlands. Our aim is to influence and change thinking through practical leadership, collaboration and championing and nurturing innovation to help create vibrant, sustainable and resilient Highland communities.

“This marks the beginning of a sustainable future of our industry in the Highlands and I am delighted to welcome Highland Tourism CIC’s board. We look forward to broadening the leadership team with representation from Moray and the northern Highlands in the near future.” The goal of Highland Tourism is to develop a sustainable travel economy that benefits the region.