Tag: ambassador, awards entry, ceremony, drumossie hotel, entries, experience, festival, finalists, food, HIE, Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, highlands of scotland, HITA, HITA2015, HITAwards, Invern



Fergus Ewing, Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism
The tourism sector is of vital importance to Scotland and it is the lifeblood of the economy in the Highlands and Islands.
Figures in a revised VisitScotland report issued in January this year show domestic and overseas visitor spend in the Highlands and Islands is more than £800 million, with the industry supporting 20,100 jobs in the region.

Continued investment in tourism is needed to keep pace with growing demand from increasingly discerning visitors to ensure we offer quality facilities and service.

I recently met with local tourism business operators at a workshop I co-chaired with The Highland Council to discuss a new tourist attraction for Inverness Castle.

Breathing new life into the castle will produce a quality offering to encourage tourists to both visit and stay longer in the city and I am determined that, recognising this will take time and careful work by many partners, this historic landmark finds a role that benefits the Highlands and Scotland as a whole.

This is something representatives of the tourism sector support, as do the members of the public who responded to a recent consultation on the castle’s future.

Ministers will continue their supportive role through a recently established development group which aims to have the attraction opening in the early 2020s.

Inverness will also play a part this year in further enhancing our international profile as a world class events destination following success in hosting major global competition like the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup.

Castle Stuart Golf Links will host the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open this summer for the fourth time in six years, bringing some of the world’s best players to the Moray Firth course.

The event is worth millions of pounds directly to the wider Highland and Scottish economy, but the worldwide television coverage, beaming pictures of our spectacular scenery, will have a legacy effect for years to come.

With Royal Dornoch Golf Club also hosting the Northern Open during celebrations to mark 400 years of golf being played in the town, and Nairn Golf Club staging the Home Internationals, not to mention countless other sporting and cultural events, 2016 will be a big year for the Highlands in terms of attracting visitors.

In this, the year of Innovation, Architecture, and Design, there is the perfect opportunity for those who push the boundaries of excellence to come to the fore.

The Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards are respected across the industry for showcasing best practice and talent and I’m sure they will again this year help inspire businesses and individuals to greater things.



Businesses in the north of Scotland will be encouraged to share in the success of the prestigious Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards at an event in Inverness next week.
The event, ‘Maximising Your Opportunities’, will be held at the Inverness Campus on 14 April and provide companies a business-to-business opportunity with HITA winners and sponsors. It will also give an insight into how firms can benefit from entering the awards or being a sponsor.

HITA Chair Craig Ewan, general manager at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness, will give an overview of the awards from a previous winner’s point of view.

He said: “This is a great networking opportunity for businesses who will find out from a previous winner how winning a HITA award has helped staff and raised the profile of their company.”

Steve Barron, Group Publications Manager, Scottish Provincial Press, will advise on gaining media exposure by being associated with HITA, and Peter Kane, Managing Director of Lucid PR, Events and Marketing, will explain how and why businesses should embrace social media.

Stuart Black, Director of Development and Infrastructure at the Highland Council, will also outline how the recently-announced City Deal for Inverness will benefit the Highlands and the region’s businesses.

The event will be held from 5:30p.m to 7:00p.m with refreshments available. Tickets are free but must be booked via Eventbrite http://hitamaximise.eventbrite.co.uk

The Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, held in association with SSE, were launched last month by Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing.

The competition is free to enter and businesses or individuals can put themselves forward for recognition, while visitors and industry peers are encouraged to propose businesses they feel deserve an honour.

The event will culminate in a grand ceremony for finalists at the Kingsmills Hotel on 4 November.

Last year 190 entries and nominations were received for the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards. The total was boosted by the inclusion of part of Argyll for the first

time, but even without the boundary change the figure was nearly 40 per cent up on 2014.

The 2016 categories are –

Most Hospitable Hotel
Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House
Best Accommodation Provider
Best Informal Eating Experience
Best Restaurant Experience
Friendliest Pub/Bar
Best Cultural Event or Festival
Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience
Tourism and Hospitality Hero
Best Visitor Attraction
Working Together for Tourism
Best Sporting Event
Innovation in Tourism
Highland Rising Star
Highland Ambassador

Useful links

Facebook – www.facebook.com/Highlands.and.Islands.Tourism.Awards
Twitter – @HiTourismAwards

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