A Covid recovery campaign has been launched for Inverness, urging people across the Highlands to return to the city to visit and shop.
The move brings together tourism and retail sectors, as well as Highland Council, to encourage staycations and promote responsible, sustainable and inclusive visits.
It is the first time a specific budget has been set aside to promote the city using the combined efforts of all organisations.
It comes as retail and hospitality outlets began to re-open with the easing of Covid restrictions in Scotland.
By marketing Inverness and encouraging the return of visitors, those behind the campaign say it can help create job opportunities and secure the future of businesses.
The tourism and hospitality sector is of significant importance to Inverness, with 1,140 jobs – 16% of all employment in the city area – in sustainable tourism growth areas.
The project will deliver a range of digital marketing initiatives, including online campaigns, website development, hosting of influencers and promotion of business events.
New video and imagery will be produced to promote the city, along with new maps, guides and itineraries.
Tourism and retail ‘severely impacted’ by Covid
Michael Golding, chief executive of Visit Inverness Loch Ness, said: “The project aims to encourage the responsible return of visitors, empower businesses in their recovery efforts and ensure the sizeable number of people who would love to visit the area, are encouraged to do so in line with Scottish Government guidelines.
“The tourism, retail and hospitality sectors are being severely impacted by the pandemic, this in real terms puts businesses and jobs at risk while impacting the quality of life for local people – through opportunities for things to do and places to stay.
“This new collaborative recovery project puts the whole city of Inverness and surrounding areas in the strongest possible position, with a greater city appeal by combining Bid areas and the ability to engage more people through recovery activity.”
Mike Smith, manager of Inverness City Centre Bid, said the organisations are committed to ensuring an early and sustainable recovery for businesses and tourism in the area.
And David Haas, Highland Council’s city of Inverness area manager, said the authority recognises the importance of working with the business community to enhance efforts being made to provide a safe and attractive environment for locals and visitors.
He said: “The joint working between two key leading groups representing businesses from a broad range of sectors is considered very important to the recovery of business growth and the council looks forward to further opportunities to collaborate.”