A DESTINATION management organisation has announced plans for a new autumn and winter campaign for Scotland.

Venture North, which promotes responsible tourism in the far north Highlands of Scotland, said firms across the region have signed up.

The organisation is working with over 250 tourism and hospitality businesses, local community groups and industry partners across Caithness and Sutherland to help extend the season and bring business to local visitor economies over the quieter autumn and winter months, with a focus on Health & Wellbeing, Active Outdoors, Heritage, Wildlife & Culture, and Luxury Highlands. 

The initiative is being geared towards promoting reasons to visit and explore the region from October to March, showcasing areas that are less impacted by over-tourism and can accommodate visitors in the quieter season, as well as highlighting the long-established relationship between tourism and wellbeing. 

Oldshoremore Retreats near Kinlochbervie, Golspie Inn, Newton Lodge near Kylesku, and Mackays Hotel in Wick are amongst the list of accommodation providers who have already signed up to the campaign and will be staying open to visitors throughout autumn and winter.

Tourism chiefs announce autumn, winter campaignDornoch Beach

From their winter retreat, visitors will also be encouraged to get off the beaten track to enjoy everything from winter walks, wild swimming and cycling, to surfing, fly fishing and guided wildlife-spotting adventures.

Some of the top outdoor activity providers in Sutherland and Caithness are part of Venture North’s autumn and winter campaign, including Assynt Fly Fishing, Hamlet Mountaineering and Sutherland Adventure Company. 

Dunnet Bay Distillery and the North West Highlands Geopark will also be offering a warm Highland welcome to visitors from across Scotland, the rest of the UK and beyond during the quieter months, including opportunities to explore the natural history, landscape, heritage and traditions of the region. 

Cathy Earnshaw, destination strategy manager for Venture North and leads the tourism recovery strategy for Caithness and Sutherland, said: "As the destination management organisation for the region, we are continuing to help local businesses and communities through effective collaboration to maximise the benefits of the visitor economy. This includes an ongoing conversation around the staffing crisis and recruitment ahead the autumn and winter season.”

Lou Rollason, of the Dornoch Whisky Festival, said: "We’re so excited that the Dornoch Whisky Festival is coming back in full force for 2022. This year we'll be continuing to work with some fantastic brands and do some great collaborations between them and our local businesses. It's such a delightful wee festival emphasising knowledge and learning, regardless of someone's experience in whisky. 

“Since October is such a beautiful time of year in the Highlands, we love that we play a small part in the Highland calendar to encourage people to visit outside of the summer rush."

Ellie Lamont, Venture North director, said: "Venture North is delighted to be able to host the return of Taste North in Wick on 6th November. We’re looking forward to seeing all our past exhibitors and visitors, as well as being able to welcome new businesses and entice a growing number of attendees to the much-anticipated festival of the best the north has to offer.

“We’re thrilled to have Tony Singh returning as our celebrity chef and expect his entertaining antics to amuse and educate our foodie fans once again. We’re planning a programme packed with cookery and cocktail demonstrations, as well as our Taste North challenge competition and family activities.”

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Tourism chiefs announce autumn, winter campaign