A new pass offering discounts at a number of tourist sites across the north and north-east has been launched, with an aim to encourage visitors to the region at a crucial time.
The Northern HighLights pass initiative was initially going to begin in spring 2020, but the plans were pushed back due to the pandemic.
And now it is hoped that its offers can play a role in helping the local tourism industry rebuild after a devastating year.
Backed by tourism bodies VisitScotland and VisitAberdeenshire, along with Aberdeenshire Council, the pass is inspired by similar sightseeing schemes in cities around the world.
‘Designed to inspire and entice’
It was conceived by Sarah Harker and Moira Gash, the co-directors of local tourism business DeeTour.
They believe it can bolster the industry across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, the Cairngorms, the Highlands, Perthshire and Angus.
Ms Gash said: “From our research, it was clear that many visitors – whether here for a weekend, a week or longer – like to explore the region during their stay, visiting castles, distilleries and other attractions.
“The pass is designed to inspire them to do that and entice them to venture into different regions to discover some of what they have to offer.
“That is why the pass is covering such a big area.”
Among the attractions already signed up are National Trust for Scotland properties, Grampian Transport Museum, Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery, Blair Castle, Strathisla Distillery, Peterhead Prison Museum and Macduff Marine Aquarium.
Meanwhile, visitors to Maryculter House can get a discount on afternoon tea, and Craggan Outdoors near Aviemore will take money off the cost of activities.
The women behind the initiative, who were aided in its creation by developer of cloud-based software Open Pass, are hoping more attractions and businesses will sign up.
Ms Harker said: “Each individual visitor attraction, hospitality business, activity provider or shop can tailor the discount they offer to suit their individual organisation.
“Generally, most businesses are offering savings of between ten and twenty per cent, with some applying the discount to specific products or services.
“With tourism expected to be a growth sector in the years to come, the Northern HighLights Pass is a product to support it for the long-term.”
The pass is valid for two or five consecutive days, beginning from the first use, and each one can only be used by one individual.
More information can be found on the website here.