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Cta Man
Bikers stop to take a selfie next to river in the Cairngorms National park


Supporting our region to maximise the economic, community and cultural benefits of tourism, while safeguarding our unique assets.

The new tourism

With an average pre COVID-19 visitor spend of £1.5bn in the region, 3,200 registered tourism businesses locally, and with tourism jobs representing up to 43% of the workforce in some areas of the Highlands and Islands, tourism is central to our way of life. It sustains many of our local, regional and island economies and communities. 

The tourism and hospitality sector has been one of the worst hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. An Ekosgen report, published by HIE in September 2020, estimates that visitor spend here is likely to have declined by between £370m–£584m in the financial year 2020-21. Alongside our public sector partners, we're doing all we can to support the response and recovery measures to help our industry get back on its feet.

We’re here to help local enterprises as they look at operating safely, looking at innovative ways of doing business, and meeting the increased demand for sustainable, authentic tourism experiences.

Support for tourism - where to get help

We work in partnership with the Scottish Government, VisitScotland and other public sector agencies, local authorities, industry and communities across our region to support the tourism industry. 

As well as the programmes we offer, you can also find a comprehensive overview of all Scotland-wide public sector support on the Find Business Support website

VisitScotland also have information on funding and provide research and insights to support business recovery and growth. 

You can also find support from the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), the membership body for Scottish tourism industry.

Manage the skills in your workforce in the Skills Development Scotland Employer Hub


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Investments to sustain tourism and support local recovery


through grants and support for the region’s tourism sector


HIE funding for tourism’s digital enablement 2020/21


for destination management organisations


of HIE tourism investments going to social enterprises

Capital investment in community-led tourism covid-19 recovery

We've invested over £1.5m in community-led tourism projects to support local recovery from the impacts of COVID-19. Meet some of the communities here.

Meet some of our tourism enterprises

Businesses and community organisations are delivering a wide range of innovative projects across the region. Here are just a few of them.

Skidbladner Rob Brookes

Unst in Shetland

When tourism assets are owned and managed by communities themselves there can be huge benefits in community wealth building.

Find out more about the range of community-led tourism work on the UK's most northerly island.

Visit Unst
Bikes And Loch Ness Hub

Loch Ness Hub

Despite the COVID-19 lockdown the Community Interest Company Loch Ness Hub has renovated the disused Tourist Information Centre in Drumnadrochit.

Offering expanded and green services it will be the area's new one stop shop for information, baggage transfer service, an e-bike facility and will sell local products.

Loch Ness Hub
Gavin and Penny Ellis outside Knockomie Hotel by Forres

Knockomie Inn

Gavin and Penny Ellis have run the Knockomie Inn in Moray for more than 25 years.

Here they share their experiences of the pandemic (recorded in 2020) and share ideas on safe re-opening.

Knockomie Inn
Uig Hotel

Uig Hotel

Pre COVID Billy and Anne Harley embarked on an ambitious growth plan for their 18-bedroom Uig Hotel.

Find out more about their international marketing plan.

Uig Hotel, Isle of Skye
Jurassic Skye

Technology and Heritage

We're supporting an EU North Sea Interreg project called CUPIDO. Tourism organisations are learning how digital technology can open up access to our unique history and heritage.

Find out about some of the projects using 3d, virtual reality, and more to bring their histories to life.

Cupido project
Glenfinnan Viaduct scenic view

West Highland Community Tourism

To support COVID-19 recovery, HIE has invested £440,000 in 14 West Highland tourism facilities, from Gairloch to Kilchoan.

All run by the community, the attractions are investing in infrastructure to support the return of visitors.

See what they're doing in our feature.

West Highland Museum


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