The Highlands must embrace the challenge of capitalising on an enormous economic opportunity from a major golf resort being planned at Castle Stuart, an MP says.
A second course and luxury accommodation are proposed at the site outside Inverness following its purchase by renowned Canadian operator Cabot.
The prospect of creating jobs and bringing in more visitors to the region is greatly anticipated locally.
Enormous opportunity for the Highlands
Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP Drew Hendry says it is an exciting announcement, not just for golf tourism but for the wider economy.
But he says the Highlands has to ensure its infrastructure is ready to deal with the growth.
Mr Hendry, who last year launched a City Vision for Inverness, says: “I believe this investment simply underlines the enormous opportunity that exists for Inverness and the Highlands.
“As the city rolls forward with the vision of Inverness 2035, it is not only another boost to our economic future, but puts positive pressure on the job of making sure our infrastructure, especially when it comes to transport links, is up to speed to service, not only what needs to be addressed now, but also inevitable increased demand.
“We should be ready to embrace the challenge that making the most of this development will bring.”
Yvonne Crook, chair of Highland Tourism CIC, says the arrival of Cabot Highlands is “timeous and hugely exciting”.
“They come with a world-class reputation for hospitality and destination experiences providing the most fantastic opportunity for the Highlands if all stakeholders work in partnership and invest together.
“We very much look forward to welcoming Cabot to the Highlands.”
Plans can stimulate economic development
Ken Gowans, chairman of Highland Council’s economy and infrastructure committee, is pleased Cabot has demonstrated such confidence in the region.
“They will bring fresh ideas to an already successful golf operation. I hope there will be opportunities to work with them to promote the area and stimulate economic development.
“Its great they have identified a club in the north of Scotland they feel has significant investment potential.
“We look forward to seeing plans as they develop and working with them to make this a success.”
Stewart Nicol, chief executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, said it is a significant development. He said it means a lot for Castle Stuart and for golf in the Highlands and across Scotland.
“In addition to boosting our region’s tourism and hospitality sectors, the development of the new course and associated luxury housing will bring significant opportunities for local businesses.
“Castle Stuart has been a remarkable success since its founding, due to the hard work of their leadership team and staff in developing their offering and attracting world class competitions along with the associated sponsorship such events attract.”
He says the development of the course and facilities under new ownership will help ensure Castle Stuart grows as a prime destination for golfers across the world.
“The accompanying economic benefits will be a major boost to the city of Inverness and the whole Highland region.”
The Castle Stuart site, soon to be known as Cabot Highlands, is the Canadian operation’s first venture in Europe.
Work on new course to begin this autumn
Planning for a second course will begin this autumn. It is hoped construction will get under way next year and be completed in 2024.
Cabot’s first property, Cabot Cape Breton, near the town of Inverness, was opened in 2012.
It is home to two world class golf courses and employs around 500 people.
The company recently acquired its first US property, Cabot Citrus Farms in Central West Florida.
Cabot Saint Lucia in the Caribbean should open later this year. Cabot Revelstoke in British Columbia, Canada, will follow in 2024.
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