Visitors are clamouring to return to the Cairngorms as the lockdown restrictions ease, according to a new survey.
Tourism businesses have been told to prepare to open their doors again from July 15 in line with government guidelines.
A new visitor survey by the Cairngorms Business Partnership (CBP) and Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) shows visitors are ready to come back.
The survey received 2,613 responses, with 68% of people saying they definitely would visit the national park in the next year.
Asked when they would be comfortable taking a holiday in the area involving an overnight stay, 34.6% said this summer, and 31.9% said this autumn.
In all, 40.7% said they would eat in a restaurant, including hotel/guesthouse, and 33.1% said they would drink in a local pub.
Also, 39.4% said they would eat in a local café for lunch, coffee and snacks.
Mark Tate, chief executive of CBP, said the park area is dominated by tourism and many businesses have been struggling.
But he said: “It is clear from the survey we have a very loyal and trusting repeat visitor audience. We are very lucky in that respect, we get more repeat visitors than many other parts of Scotland.
“There is a clamour from people to get back to the countryside. The more we plan, the more we ask questions the more encouraged we are that people will come back. Our biggest challenge will be to ensure we are ready for that.”
He said a major issue will be provision of public toilets and guidelines are needed on operating toilets safely, while help is required to provide more facilities.
CBP and CNPA have been working with a wide variety of businesses and partners to develop a framework for communicating confidence that recognises the importance of visitors.
Mr Tate said visitors want to protect communities and help businesses: “They share our fears about people respecting social distancing and staying safe and they have fears that their favourite experiences simply won’t exist because businesses here have been so badly hit.”
Grant Moir, CNPA chief executive, said: “Over the past difficult months the response of communities in the Cairngorms has been truly humbling from delivering food and essentials for those shielding to organising litter picks to keep the place we all love looking as special as ever.
“Communities pulling together is so important to get us through this and CNPA is doing all it can to help and get things done.”