Highland Renewables Roadshow kicks off

Highland Renewables Roadshow kicks off to discuss plans for £10m investment in Highland destination development

Highland Renewables kicked off its 2024 Roadshow series in Inverness on Friday 12 January, where more than 30 leaders from the tourism, whisky and renewables sectors came together to discuss a £10m investment plan for the Highlands. The Roadshow series, hosted by Kate Forbes MSP and sponsored by Statkraft, will also stop off in the North Highlands, West Highlands and Speyside and Moray over the next eight weeks.

Kate Forbes, MSP and Highland Tourism CIC Ambassador, said: “Today we saw tremendous support for the ambitious plans for the Highlands to become one of the world’s most sustainable destinations for all those who live, work, study and visit here, driven by Highland Tourism CIC and Highland Renewables. These are critical discussions on a transformational investment plan for the Highlands, being held by a visionary and innovative cross-sector group and I would urge others from the tourism and renewables sectors to get involved now and find out how they can provide support.”

Yvonne Crook, Chair of Highland Tourism CIC and Highland Renewables, said: “Last year we announced that our plans were to invest £1m of private sector funds through this innovative partnership, aiming to address a series of issues and opportunities that will significantly benefit the Highland economy, communities and environment. Some of these include plans for a Highland-based International Hotel School, a Conference Centre and Convention Bureau, regenerative funds to address the climate and nature crisis and investment in attracting a higher-value, more conscious traveller.

After almost three years of community consultation, significant support from our founding sponsor Tomatin Distillery, and the creation of a bold and ambitious destination strategy, we are well on our way to creating an investment plan that will see £10m raised annually for transformational destination development in the Highlands. Key elements within the investment plan will include working with stakeholders in the Highlands to align investment, ensuring tourism levy funds and renewable energy funds and other private and public sector investment is all channelled into ‘brand Highlands’ – a world-leading premium environmental destination.”

“The scale and importance of this initiative to the Highland economy will bring benefits across all sectors and communities, as well as supporting a collective ambition to achieve net zero and address the nature and climate crisis.”

Professor Terry Stevens of Stevens & Associates said: “The study in 2023 showed that a £10m total investment empowering Highland Tourism CIC to create an organisation that positions and markets the Highlands to grow the high spend market will generate an additional annual £400m net positive income for the region annually. This is based on a 5% growth rate, which is just a third of the compound annual growth rate forecast for this market segment over the next five years.

The coming together today of the tourism, whisky and renewables communities to discuss an investment drive and plan for this is hugely exciting and I’m confident that it will have a positive transformational effect on the Highlands and those who live and visit here.” 

Iain Robertson, Head of Statkraft Scotland, said: “Today was an exciting day as the first of the Highland Renewables Roadshows kicked off with a brilliant turnout from leaders of the tourism, whisky and renewables sectors. Further investment in the Highlands will bring value to the Highland economy and importantly, to Highland communities.

“We’re pleased to be leading the way in facilitating the important conversations that started today by sponsoring these Roadshow events and supporting Highland Tourism CIC and Highland Renewables in the ground-breaking initiatives being delivered.”

Further Highland Renewables Roadshow events are taking place throughout the Highlands throughout January – March 2024. If you’d like to learn more about Highland Tourism CIC and Highland Renewables and find out how to get involved, please email info@highlandrenewables.org