The North Coast 500 Ltd has voiced its support for VisitScotland’s new "responsible tourism" campaign in the North Highlands.

It said the push "aims to highlight the importance of exploring the country responsibly".

The Scotland-wide campaign hopes to address some of the issues experienced last year, when Scotland saw a rise in domestic visitors who chose to enjoy a staycation in the North Highlands.

As more people enjoy the outdoors as the weather improves, and as lockdown restrictions gradually ease, the VisitScotland campaign calls for visitors to be considerate of the impact that visits can have on landscapes, wildlife and communities it said. 

The new £124,000 campaign will help to amplify the message already being communicated by NC500 Ltd, Highland Council and partners in the North Highlands.

Whether people are travelling in their own vehicle, or hiring one for their visit, NC500 Ltd says it continues to encourage visitors to observe its advice for safe driving on country and single-track roads, overnight parking, access rights and waste disposal, which is all available on the NC500 website.

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If people are camping, in a campervan or have a caravan, NC500 Ltd continues to urge people to support local businesses on the world-famous tourist route.

HeraldScotland: The route has numerous destinationsThe route has numerous destinations

The advice of NC500 Ltd is that visitors should only stay overnight in designated sites and they should book in advance in order that their holiday is planned ahead.

Whether people are travelling by car, bicycle, motorcycle, campervan, motorhome or foot, NC500 Ltd "encourages people to respect local communities and not to leave waste for others to find or remove".

NC500 Ltd said it is also continuing to work with Highland Council and a range of industry partners to focus on responsible and sustainable tourism, actively encouraging visitors to spend more time exploring the region by "showcasing the wild, rugged and varied landscapes of the North Highlands".

The organisation is urging visitors to "slow down, explore away from the beaten track and focus on wellbeing experiences as part of their travels, such as walking, hiking and swimming, whilst being mindful of their environmental impact".

HeraldScotland: Tom Campbell, executive chair of North Coast 500 LtdTom Campbell, executive chair of North Coast 500 Ltd

Tom Campbell, executive chair of North Coast 500 Ltd, said: “We fully support VisitScotland’s new responsible tourism campaign in the North Highlands and Scotland-wide.

"It’s important that we work together to help each other through the challenges ahead. NC500 Ltd is continuing to work with Highland Council, VisitScotland and Highlands & Islands Enterprise to plan for the safe reopening of the North Highlands to visitors this summer and beyond.

“The new VisitScotland campaign is hugely important as travel restrictions start to be lifted and we can begin to enjoy the great outdoors in the North Highlands once again. It's now more vital than ever that we realise the impact of our visits to the North Highlands and our individual and collective responsibility to care for this beautiful region of Scotland.

“We want to protect the stunning landscapes and wildlife that Scotland is famous for and support the local communities that reply so heavily on tourism for their livelihoods. We are asking everyone to help keep the North Highlands special by ensuring we protect our natural resources by being responsible and respectful when out and about.”

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HeraldScotland: Partners Roddy Urquhart (Front Centre) L-R Gillian Black,Alison Grandison, Stephen Webster, Sara Smith and Stephen BlanePartners Roddy Urquhart (Front Centre) L-R Gillian Black,Alison Grandison, Stephen Webster, Sara Smith and Stephen Blane

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