Ideas Week Tourism Day – looking to the future

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Thursday saw Tourism Day at Ben Nevis Distillery in Fort William as part of this year’s Lochaber Ideas Week.

Tourism Day offered the opportunity to celebrate the resilience and inspiration of Lochaber’s biggest industry.

Sustainability is the key to the future of tourism and delegates reflected on what they have learned from the challenges of the last 18 months and what future trends will shape the visitor economy of tomorrow to make sure the local tourism industry is ready for the future.

Highlights from the day included the chamber’s own Mark Gibbings talking about Lochaber’s position as the Outdoor Capital of the UK in relation to Covid – both now and in the future.

Online travel shopping experts Expedia looked at working with online travel agencies, travel trends and other fascinating insights.

Highland Council gave an overview of its ranger project and infrastructure, followed by specialists from VisitScotland on making tourism and travel sustainable in the drive to net zero carbon emissions.

There was an investment update with case studies presented by well-known entrepreneur Angus MacDonald, alongside Nevis Range’s Chris O’Brien and Alison Gainsford from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Ruari Watt, Highland development co-ordinator for Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland, gave an informative overview of plans for encouraging more people to get involved with biking and to encourage visitors to use bikes as a part of their holiday, to get off the beaten track and explore the area in whatever way they like.

The day closed with a look ahead to the World Cycling Championships in 2023 and opportunities for Lochaber.


Mark Gibbings of Lochaber Chamber of Commerce speaks at Thursday’s Tourism Day about surviving the Covid pandemic and how local tourism could build from it. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, NO_F48_IdeasWeek_TourismDay03

Extra pics:

Colin Simpson, Tourism Coordinator, The Highland Council talked about various topics including the influx of camper vans. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, NO_F48_IdeasWeek_TourismDay05

The function suite at Ben Nevis Distillery made the perfect venue for Ideas Week Tourism Day. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, NO_F48_IdeasWeek_TourismDay04

Lochaber Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Frazer Coupland delivers the welcome address at Thursday’s Tourism Day in Ben Nevis Distillery. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, NO_F48_IdeasWeek_IdeasWeek_Tourism Day01