Advance bookings for this summer’s Smyril Line ferry service between the Faroe Islands and Scrabster are already three times higher than this time last year.
The figures were revealed last week by the company’s Product Manager whilst on a familiarisation visit to the Highlands. Ann Mari Wang was accompanied by two colleagues from the company’s sales offices in Norway and Torshavn, together with journalist Heri Simonsen from the Faroe Islands national newspaper, Sosialurin.
Councillor Drew Hendry, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Planning, Environment and Development Committee said: “This is a great example of what can be achieved through co-operative working in the Highlands. Many different people, including Scrabster Harbour Trust, the Local Enterprise Company, VisitScotland, Highland Council’s tourism team and private sector tourism operators have been working with Smyril Line over the past two years to persuade them to come to Scotland.”
A three day fact finding visit for the Smyril group was organised by The Highland Council’s Tourism Development Officer, Gordon Ireland.
The group were in the Highlands to experience at first hand the accommodation and visitor attractions they will be selling to their customers in Faroe and Norway. Despite less than perfect weather, the group were impressed by what they saw on their journey around the North Highlands.
“A symphony of landscapes” was how journalist Heri Simonsen described the journey which started in Inverness and continued north to Wick and Thurso, along the coast to Durness and down the west coast before returning to Loch Ness, Inverness and Nairn.
Oda Andreasen, Smyril Line’s Sales Manager for the Faroe Islands was impressed by the variety and quality of accommodation on offer. She said: “It was great to discover hotels in small villages. I did not expect to find that. Many of our family groups will book into the caravan holiday parks in Embo and Nairn, but we also have ‘empty nesters’ travelling who will not pre-book accommodation and will enjoy exploring the towns and villages of the Highlands.”
During the visit, the Smyril Line team met representatives from the marketing groups North Highland Tourism and Highlands, Loch Ness Marketing. Ann Mari Wang, Smyril’s Product Manager said: “It’s been great to see so much co-operation. Everyone we have met has been really helpful.”
The 42,000 tonnes “Norrona” will call at Scrabster every Wednesday for ten weeks commencing Wednesday 18th June, carrying passengers from Iceland, Faroe Islands and Norway. The route is expected to attract over 6,000 visitors, generating over £4 million for the Highland tourism economy.
For further information please contact: Gordon Ireland, Tourism Officer, The Highland Council, Tel. 01463 710729 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org