Sustainable Tourism Strategy launched for public consultation – May 2024

Following the recent Economy and Infrastructure Committee (Thursday 2 May 2024), where Members approved the Council’s Draft Sustainable Tourism Strategy and agreed a public and stakeholder engagement programme, the public consultation has now been launched today.

Economy and Infrastructure Committee Chair, Cllr Ken Gowans said: “The tourism sector has seen incredible growth over recent times. It has given rise to huge economic and social opportunities across Highland, but it also creates major challenges, particularly the pressure it puts on public services and infrastructure.

The strategy will be informed by a collaborative approach with tourism industry representatives, public agencies and communities and offers an opportunity for others to shape how we manage and invest in the sector across Highland to ensure it has the ability and resources available to maintain and enhance the services and infrastructure which visitors rely on. 

The rich heritage, culture and landscape is what draws visitors to the area, and it is vitally important that ‘people, place and economy’ remain at the heart of the tourism offering. The Council want to support the tourism industry to continue to grow and thrive, but in the right places and in a sustainable way.

It is fundamental that as many people as possible with an interest in the future of tourism in Highland can feed into the strategy, and therefore a public consultation is now open and running for the next six weeks.

A tourism industry representatives’ workshop will also take place this month, where tourism professionals, industry representatives and stakeholders will come together to contribute to the strategy.”

The draft strategy has been prepared over recent months, taking account of the wider policy landscape, and assessment of the tourism market. At the same time a programme of extensive engagement with Council services which explored their role within the visitor economy – whether that be dedicated, or supportive services and identified the existing responsibilities; the challenges faced; the future opportunities; and the obstacles needed to overcome to deliver that change.

The draft Strategy is now available for public comment through the following link Sustainable Tourism Strategy.  The consultation will run for a period of six weeks and will end at midnight on Tuesday 25 June 2024.

The collective findings will help shape the final strategy which will be presented to the Economy and Infrastructure Committee later this year.

14 May 2024