A Highland councillor is calling on the local authority to pressure VisitScotland to make a U-turn on its decision to shut tourist information offices throughout the region.
Offices in Thurso, Durness, Drumnadrochit and Fort Augustus will close their doors to visitors over the next two years.
VisitScotland said it was moving to regional information centres and an enhanced digital footprint for advising tourists across the country.
Thurso councillor Struan Mackie is urging the council to call on VisitScotland to think again.
He said: “The council is relying on a network of information partners and the continued rollout of digitally connected services to meet the fallout of closures. Make no mistake, this move will hit the Highland tourist industry hard.
“My ward is making every effort to build our tourist product and to move away from historical reliance on industries such as nuclear industry and offshore employment.
“When we are encouraging people to invest in tourism, invest in the far north, the announcement comes as a hammer blow to those aspirations.
“Even with the rollout of Wi-Fi the number of visitors coming without a digitally connected mobile phone or laptop are still very significant.
“Even those who are digitally enabled can find it hard to get connected, especially in landward Caithness and Sutherland.”
Councillor Mackie is raising the issue at a meeting of the full council tomorrow.
In a written response to his concerns, council leader Margaret Davidson said: “VisitScotland have been in regular contact for a number of years over the planned reduction in size of their publicly funded Visitor Information Centre (VIC) network to reflect changing visitor behaviour and the need to direct resources towards other activities such as their digital presence.
“VisitScotland is also ensuring that following closure of some of their staffed offices, a network of locations providing information to visitors will remain through their VisitScotland Information Partner (VIP) programme which includes over 250 Highland businesses, including the council’s learning and leisure partner High Life Highland sites.
“The council has also embarked on the rollout of a public Wi-Fi service in a number of Highland locations.”