Tourism businesses on the North Coast 500 route are preparing a post-lockdown campaign to woo back visitors once restrictions ease.
At least half the North Highland tourism workforce is on furlough and NC500 business members are plotting a way to safeguard jobs, protect the hospitality sector and rebuild public confidence in 2021.
When it is safe to travel, NC500 plans to promote responsible and sustainable tourism in the North Highlands.
It is hoped that the natural scenery, wide-open green spaces, mountains and beaches will be key factors in drawing visitors back to the region.
The famous route was last year estimated to have boosted the economy by £22.89 million and created around 179 full-time jobs.
An overwhelming majority of firms from across Inverness-shire, the Black Isle, Easter Ross, Wester Ross, Sutherland and Caithness also believe that NC500 is continuing to have a positive benefit on the wider region, despite the pandemic.
Craig Mills, head of operations at North Coast 500 Ltd, said: “It’s clear that the majority of our members want to see a cautious re-opening of North Highland tourism in 2021 and are looking forward to welcoming back visitors from across Scotland and the rest of the UK.
“A positive marketing campaign and a consistent welcoming message are also seen to be vital to regaining consumer confidence.”
Maureen Ross, director of the Seaboard Centre at Balintore, said: “The Seaboard Centre recognises that tourism is going to be vital to the Highland economy and there is now an opportunity to get it right through a well-managed tourism strategy.”