Why we need a Renaissance 

in Highland Tourism Post-Covid 19.



The Highlands of Scotland-Caledonia-North Britain

Wild foreboding on the periphery of Western Europe

A land inhabited by hunter gatherers

Invaded by Vikings

Settled by Pictish Tribes

Developed under The Clan System

The “claan” in Gaelic – The Children or Family

The Macdonalds – Lords of the Isles,

The Camerons of Lochiel,

The Frasers of Lovat to name a few – they had their colours, tartan, they had their fans 

– clansmen – they had their badges – clan crests – they had their strap lines and septs – 

Standfast Craigellachie – the slogan of The Grants of Seafield



Their day came to an end 275 years ago on 16th April, 1746 on the field of Culloden outside Inverness.

The Jacobite army of Charles Edward Stuart was crushed by the disciplined Hanoverian army under 

the leadership of The Duke of Cumberland.

That it seemed “the end of an old song”.



The Highland Clans had never much respect for the authorities in London or Edinburgh either.

They were a separate, proud people, with their own loyalties, language, and prowess. A people 

who have the gift of transmitting suffering and defeat into beauty.



Fast forward to the period of The Enlightenment, a period of The Romantic 

fuelled by the works of Sir Walter Scott, the arrival of Queen Victoria to Balmoral, the coming 

of the railways, roads, canals and bridges -The Highlands were open and welcoming.



The Tourist had arrived.



Fast forward to the period of The Pandemic.



In the words of David Attenborough – “2021 will be a year for positive change. This will be for all not just the Planet.”



According to our Tourism Chiefs in an article in The Herald on 27th September 2020 – “Covid 19 has crippled the sector until 2023”

A report by Visit Scotland pins hopes on a reboot of the sector with more “Spirit lifting experience combined with rural hospitality”



All very well, but who is going to drive this?



This is a great opportunity for the private sector to lead. They are the businesses on the ground and they are the ones that need to make the business of tourism work. Now is the time for the public sector to work closely together and align their policies and actions… now is the time for them to work hand in hand with the private sector.


We therefore must recreate The Enlightenment for the Brave New World ahead of us.

As stated, we in The Highlands are capable of turning defeat into a thing of beauty. 

This can be done with the new movement – “Highland Tourism”.




In the words of another Celt – musician Van Morrison “From the dark end of the street 

to the bright side of the road” The ethos behind Highland Tourism will take you there.




We have to cater for a public looking for a safe experience, with attention to care and detail, in an environment 

that provides a choice of adventure in comfortable surroundings, with access to the best local food and drink. 

Friendly welcoming social-distancing locals can relay stories of the area and its DNA and encourage Conscious Travel 

to visitors and locals alike.




We must protect The Highlands and the planet. If not we could lose the lot.




In the words of Robert Burns:



But pleasures are like poppies spread

You seize the flower the bloom is shed

Or like a snowfall in the river

A moment white then gone forever



Highland Tourism is a collection of like-minded, cross-sectorial businesses 

and individuals who will take you to the bright side of the road.



Welcome aboard.




Willie Cameron

Loch Ness Marketing


Visit Scotland-Silver Thistle Award Winner-2019

Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Ambassador-2016

First Highlands and Islands Tourism Ambassador-2005