Katie from our Planit team joined around 180 people at the Highland Tourism Conference this month. This annual event is firmly in our diary each year, giving us the opportunity to catch up with contacts and connect with new businesses in the tourism sector. Workshop sessions included showing tourism businesses how they could work with the media; growing a business’s sustainability credentials and internationalising your market. The thought-provoking presentations and content help us stay in the loop with trends and opportunities which we can then relay to clients and support them with their ongoing informed plans.

This year’s conference came hot on the heels of the announcement that travel authority Lonely Planet had selected Scotland’s Highlands and Islands amongst its ‘Best in Travel’ for 2019 – the only Scottish destinations to be included.

One topic that was extensively discussed was the emphasis on the importance of tourism businesses engaging with the outdoor activity market. In the Highlands, we’re immersed in some of the most scenic and dramatic landscape the country has to offer, so there’s endless outdoor fun to be had for both locals and tourists alike! Whether you’re an activity guide showing off the best spots, offer mountain bikes or other sporting equipment for hire, provide accommodation for the adventurers seeking thrills in the mountains or perhaps you are a restaurant re-fuelling visitors after their unforgettable experiences – you can all tap into this pool of people and help us welcome them to the Highlands.

At Planit Scotland, we’re planning to bring adventure seekers under one roof in March 2019 with the first every Highland Adventure Fest at Inverness Leisure Centre. We’ll be sharing more on this soon so stay tuned!

At the Highland Tourism Conference this year, keynote speaker and double gold Olympic medallist Shirley Robertson encouraged delegates to grasp opportunities to boost their businesses, including Scotland’s Year of Coast and Waters in 2020.

Shirley said: “I was thrilled to be invited to the Highland Tourism Conference at such an incredibly exciting time for tourism in the region. Nailing a top ten spot in the Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel’ confirms what we all knew, especially if you love an outdoor adventure, that the Highlands are the place to be. But for me as a water lover I’m also delighted that 2020 has been chosen as Scotland’s Year of Coast and Waters. What a massive opportunity we have to showcase our stunning coastline, and get more people than ever enjoying one of the best cruising grounds on the planet.”

From visitors looking to experience a niche market such as sailing, whisky or mountain-biking trails, to those visitors attending or participating in local events – there are multiple points at which ways tourism businesses can extend the Scottish welcome and enhance that visitor’s individual experience of the Highlands.

Other speakers included adventure cyclist Ed Shoote, who spoke to delegates about engaging with the activity market; Graeme Ambrose, CEO at Visit Inverness Loch Ness who talked about LochNess 360 and Chelsea Charles, Senior Themed Years Communications and Engagement Manager at VisitScotland also presented on The Year of Coast and Waters 2020.

If you’d like to know about how you can take advantage of the upcoming Highland tourism opportunities, please get in touch. We can introduce you to the contacts that can really propel you to success. We firmly believe that with the right people around you, passion and a plan, you’ll see your ideas come to life and flourish. Lonely Planet has put us in the minds of adventurers from all over the world, all we need to do is maximise this opportunity we’ve been given. People will come and will want to see all the Highlands of Scotland have to offer, so let’s make their experience one to remember!