Visitors to the Cairngorms National Park will be welcomed back with open arms this weekend as restrictions are eased at last.
The park authority anticipates a welcome boost to the local economy following the relaxation of the five-mile travel distance for leisure.
The reopening of self-catering holiday homes has also been welcomed by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) which has hopes of a summer season once more.
It has, however, urged visitors to respect all government advice, taking all possible precautions to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and adhere to the Scottish outdoor access code.
Chief executive Grant Moir said: “We are very much looking forward to visitors coming back to the park but it needs to be done safely and in a way that gives confidence to communities, employees and visitors.
“The most important message we want to share is that you must plan ahead.
“While some businesses and facilities will be opening in the coming days and weeks, we are unlikely to see a return to normal service for some time yet.
“For example, not all car parks or toilets may be open straight away and many of the park’s visitor attractions may not be ready to fully welcome back visitors while maintaining safety guidelines.
“It is extremely important that visitors familiarise themselves with all the current guidance.
“You should plan and book ahead and prepare to adapt.
“If you arrive somewhere and it feels busy, you should go somewhere else. And most of all, be kind.”
The CNPA has said the impact of lockdown has been significant, with the economy’s recovery likely to be slow.
However, despite the negative impact, operators are anticipating a boom in visitor numbers as staycations rise and fewer people travel abroad.
Pete Crane, CNPA’s head of visitor services, added: “Many visitors are likely to be coming to the Cairngorms National Park for the first time and so we are working hard to promote how people can enjoy the park safely and responsibly.
“How visitors behave can make a huge difference to ensuring the enjoyment of everyone, so we ask that people don’t light fires, take their litter home and plan toilet stops in advance at the facilities that are open.”
Information has been collated online and is being displayed through the CNPA and VisitCairngorms websites to alert visitors to what facilities are open, as well as outlining restrictions which have been implemented to best protect communities, employees and visitors.