A new campaign to highlight the natural and cultural heritage of the Highlands and Islands has been launched by High Life Highland in partnership with VisitScotland.
The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project will encourage visitors to explore and experience the more remote and rural parts of the Highlands and Islands, as well as inspiring them to attend and support festivals and events, workshops, visitor attractions and outdoor locations.
The project’s aim is to help grow capacity in these areas by encouraging visitors to holiday in the ‘shoulder months’ outwith the typical holiday season and to visit locations with growth potential.
It will enhance the Highlands and Islands’ reputation as a place of outstanding natural and cultural beauty with a landscape and biodiversity to engage with and enjoy responsibly, to the domestic and international market.
It will also engage visitors by demonstrating how the Highlands and Islands are unique, authentic, and easily accessible, including for active pursuits.
The campaign aims to bring benefits to local communities and unlock economic potential by creating and sustaining jobs, businesses, and services.
VisitScotland is investing £125,000 in the project, which unlocks cash from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund.
High Life Highland will run the overall project and VisitScotland will lead on and deliver the marketing activity.
This will include a multi-channel marketing campaign, targeting both a UK and international audience, consumer marketing, visitor insights, organised press trips, a broadcast campaign, media events, social media activity, work with social and digital influencers and travel trade workshops and content.
As well as targeting UK and international visitors, the Spirit project hopes to encourage Scots to explore their own country and embrace their cultural heritage, including the Gaelic language and the stunning natural beauty on their doorstep.
VisitScotland’s Director of Marketing Vicki Miller said: “This project will focus on the whole of the Highlands and Islands – with a particular spotlight on the less-visited rural areas – bringing benefits right across the region.
“Our aim is to enhance the region’s reputation for outstanding natural and cultural beauty, to grow capacity by encouraging seasonal and geographical spread and inspire deeper engagement with our distinctive heritage and authentic connections with our rural communities.
“The impact of tourism spreads far beyond the industry itself – it benefits our economy, our community and our wellbeing.”
Director of the Inverness Castle Project, Fiona Hampton said: “We’re delighted to have the support of VisitScotland which will help us reach out to domestic and international audiences to promote the diverse natural and cultural heritage of the Highlands and Islands.
“This project isn’t just about visitors, it’s for people living here too and we want to encourage them to discover lesser-known places they can visit and activities and experiences they can have outwith the traditional holiday season and off the beaten track.”
The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands is supported by a grant from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund (NCHF) led by NatureScot and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Reflecting the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands theme, it will encourage people to visit all parts of the Highlands and Islands in a sustainable way.
The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project is part of the Inverness Castle project which is supported by the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal, a joint initiative supported by up to £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and University of the Highlands and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.