Visit Inverness Loch Ness
Visit Inverness LochNess (VILN) is the first Tourism BID in the UK, established in March 2014 following a successful ballot of all potential levy paying tourism businesses.
VILN today has 400 levy paying members ranging from major hotel chains and visitor attractions to guest houses, self-catering properties and restaurants. It also has over 50 businesses not automatically included, which have chosen to ‘opt-in’ voluntarily. The organisation covers a large geographical area that includes Loch Ness and surrounds, north to Cannich and Beauly, the city of Inverness (excluding the city centre) east of Inverness to and including Inverness Airport and south to Tomatin.
The goals of VILN are to attract more visitors to the area to stay longer and spend more, improve the visitor experience and thus create a more sustainable local tourism industry. In order to achieve these goals VILN has six objectives: to better market and promote the area, to grow the value of business tourism and attract more conferences, to support new and existing sustainable events and festivals, to deliver improvements in the tourism infrastructure, to provide business development opportunities for members and to be a voice on issues of concerns to tourism businesses.
To deliver this agenda VILN has an elected voluntary Board of twelve, ten of whom are from the private sector as well as a management team of four.
Over the past two years VILN has made good progress in delivering the activities under the objectives as outlined in their Business Plan. Key activities have included:
•Marketing: Development of a major new visitor website for the area, which averages 27K visits per month, and social media presence.
•Business Tourism: The appointment of a full time Business Tourism manager giving Inverness and Loch Ness for the first time, a presence at international trade shows as well as a dedicated focus on bringing more conferences to the area.
•Access & Infrastructure: In partnership with the Forestry Commission, clearing vegetation and improving the access to the shores of Loch Ness at five laybys on the south side
•Business Development: The rollout of the World Host Tourism Customer Training programme. Sixty plus businesses have participated to date and the area is on schedule to become one of the first World Host recognised destinations in Scotland
•Events and Festivals: Management of the first Inverness & Loch Ness international knitting festival, September 2016, as well as sponsorship of the Loch Ness Etape in 2016
In addition, in January 2015 Danny Alexander the then Sec. to the Treasury secured £2M for the international marketing of Inverness & Loch Ness over the next four years, led by VisitBritain working in partnership with VisitInvernessLochNess and VisitScotland. With a focus on Germany, France and the Netherlands this has opened up a level of marketing activity never before experienced by the area which will be of huge benefit in years to come
For more information on VisitInvernessLochNess please see at www.visitinvernesslochness.com