New funding has been secured for the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project to create innovative and interactive digital content showcasing people’s stories of the region.
The grant comes from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund (NCHF), led by NatureScot and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
In partnership with VisitScotland, the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project will see the creation of a wide range of digital content telling the stories of the region through a new website, an app, a hub for the stories, including videos, virtual reality and augmented reality.
Director of the Inverness Castle Project, Fiona Hampton said: “This is a new approach to enhancing the visitor experience across the Highlands and Islands and we’re delighted to have been awarded funding from the NCHF.
“Through this project we will work together with VisitScotland to deliver a natural and cultural heritage project that will deliver many benefits for local communities throughout the Highlands and Islands.
“The fund will also help re-position the region as a sustainable and responsible tourism destination addressing the pre-covid issues of over-tourism and will provide an authentic immersive experience for the visitor where they can get off the beaten track and explore all parts of the Highlands and Islands.”
NatureScot’s Director of Nature and Climate Change Nick Halfhide said: “We’re delighted to be able to support Spirit of the Highlands through the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund.
“This innovative digital project will help tourists and locals alike discover and connect with the huge diversity of places, people and stories of the Highlands and Islands.
“With its focus on sustainable and responsible travel, it will not only improve the experience for visitors, but also help ensure a green recovery for local communities while protecting and preserving the special natural and cultural heritage of the region.”
The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project will complement the transformation of Inverness Castle which is supported by £15 million Scottish Government and £3.1 million UK Government investment through the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal. Other partners include Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
The Inverness and Highland City Region deal is 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.