Inverness Castle lookout tower could boost tourist income
The Highland Council is leading a feasibility study looking at opening up the look-out tower at Inverness Castle as a tourist attraction.
The North Tower commands panoramic views over the city of Inverness and the surrounding countryside. It was built in the 1840’s as a prison. Importantly, it is owned by the Highland Council and could be opened up in advance of any move by the Scottish Court Service.
Chief Executive Steve Barron reckons that the tower would be an additional draw to tourists coming to the Highlands and could generate significant extra income from the tourist trade.
He said, “Tourism is currently worth £88 million per annum to the city of Inverness. Around 1 million tourists come to Inverness every year and we could increase those figures, if we could offer more attractions and keep visitors here longer.
“The recent opening of the Flybe route to the heart of London increases our opportunities to attract visitors for short city breaks. Set against a backdrop of stunning scenery and with many attractions in the Highlands, it is a fantastic base for people to stay. However, a greater range of attractions and activities would help to keep people in Inverness itself for longer and also help to bring more tourists and boost the economy as a whole.
“The Council is playing a key role in a newly established working group with the Scottish Government. This includes a range of other partners, HIE, Historic Scotland, Visit Scotland, Scottish Court Service and various other Inverness based organisations.”
He added, “The opening of the lookout tower would be a really good attraction, and we would aim to maximise access for those with disabilities but it would be even better if the whole castle could be opened up. To have the whole castle building dedicated as an exciting tourist attraction would be an immense benefit to the economy of the city.”
Stewart Nicol, Chief Executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce said, “I’m pleased to be involved in the Castle Working Group, where these plans were first discussed. This is an innovative and exciting proposal which will provide a significant boost to the tourism offering for the City of Inverness. In addition to providing a unique tourism experience for both visitors and locals, this opens up Inverness Castle to tourists within an early timescale, something which is long overdue.”