New tourism ‘Press Pause’ initiative to be rolled out to Brora

The Northern Times – Caroline McMorran

NEW tourism initiative is to be launched in an East Sutherland community, it has been announced.

The North Highland Initiative (NHI) and Scotland’s Community Tourism Network (SCOTO) are rolling out a ‘Press Pause’ project to Brora, as well as Plockton.

The move follows successful Press Pause pilots in Lochcarron and Thurso earlier this year.

The Press Pause pilot projects initially used mystery shoppers to assess each community as a visitor destination, and held face-to-face workshops for businesses and communities.

The resulting feedback and reports were used to develop a Community Led Tourism Activity Plan.

The plan included a “community-owned place brand and visitor proposition” for each area, as well as a roadmap for the way forward.

SCOTO chairperson Carron Tobin said: “The North Highland Press Pause initiatives allow communities to pause and reflect together on tourism in the local area.

“This allows common and chronic problems to be identified, from staffing, housing and motorhome impact to the lack of facilities, poor digital content or a fragmented representation of the destination.

“Groups then explore joint solutions and share best practice and inspiration from elsewhere with the overall objective of making tourism a force for good for everyone.”

Grant funding to support the activation of community led tourism activity plans will be provided from the NHI Community Support Fund with in-kind support from NHI and SCOTO.

NHI chairperson Genevieve Duhigg, a Sutherland resident, said: “In the last few years many communities have felt that tourism is happening to them – rather than with or for them.

“The projects we’ve worked on with SCOTO seek to recalibrate tourism and measure what is important to the individual community.

“This allows communities to take ownership of tourism and steer it in a way that delivers for local people.

“This is a golden opportunity for individual communities to focus on positioning themselves in a way that works for them and is also a way of welcoming visitors as temporary locals, with rich insights into the past, present and future of the community.


“We’ve already established a funding route via our Community Support Fund and look forward to using this to support the activation of these projects.”

Other communities across the region are now encouraged to get in touch to find out how they can start a Press Pause project in their area. The scheme is open to communities in Caithness, Sutherland, Wester Ross, Easter Ross and the islands of Orkney, Shetland, Lewis and Harris.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the initiative is asked to contact: