Published: 28/03/2018 19:00 - Updated: 27/03/2018 09:17

Event looks at way ahead for tourism

Written byVal Sweeney


tourism conference
More than 100 operators turned out to consider the future of tourism in the Highlands.

THE possibility of operating ferries across Loch Ness and the importance of digital booking systems were among the topics raised at a conference on the future of tourism in the Inverness area.

The one-day event at the Kingsmills Hotel was organised by VisitInvernessLochNess Business improvement district (Bid).

Graeme Ambrose, the organisation’s chief executive, felt it provided much to consider for the 100 people attending.

"I think one of the messages was that although tourism has obviously been very strong in the last couple of years, we need to think about what is ahead," he said.

"We know despite how good things are at present, we cannot rest on our laurels.

"Tourism is a fast-changing industry. We have to be aware of what the future trends are particularly in digital and how we are embracing these trends."

Mr Ambrose said digitial booking was increasingly important from the  moment people started to think about where they might go to reaching their destination.

"If you have a business which is not online, you are going to suffer," he said.

Another important issue was infrastructure which Mr Ambrose acknowledged had to be developed sensitively within the landscape.

"We strongly believe we need more things for people to do in the area around Loch Ness," he said.

"We have been talking for decades about getting some cross-loch ferries, for example.

"If you are up in Cannich and want to visit Foyers, you have a one-and-a-half hour drive around the loch.

"In any other lake or loch of this size in Europe, this would not be happening.

"It is a big project but are we just going to continue to watch the trees growing taller on either side of the loch?"

Speakers included adventurer Dave Cornthwaite who once skateboarded across Australia.

He is best known for Expedition1000, an ongoing mission to take on 25 different non-motorised journeys, each over 1000 miles.

"He delivered an inspirational talk which engaged everyone," Mr Ambrose said. 

Daniel Rowles, an author and lecturer at Imperial College, London, also spoke.

Mr Rowles has worked in digital marketing for 19 years.

Representatives from VisitScotland, VisitBritain and local organisations also attended the conference.

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