Inverness Airport should change its name to Loch Ness International Airport to cash in on the global appeal of the world famous loch and its monster Nessie.
The controversial name change suggestion was made at a seminar in Inverness yesterday run by the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) to consider how to better market the area on the back of Nessie and the famous waters.
Loch Ness International Airport was suggested as an alternative airport name by Willie Cameron, business development director for Cobbs Group, in a keynote speech during the conference.
The event, which took place at UHI’s head office, was aimed at stakeholders in the Inverness and Loch Ness Business Improvement District (T Bid).
Mr Cameron said: “I am 100% serious about changing the name of Inverness Airport to Loch Ness International Airport because the name has big appeal to people around the world. We have the power to put Loch Ness worldwide just with that itself. The Loch Ness subject is as hot as it has ever been.”
He added that there are also a number of basic changes to get right first, especially concerning the improvement of access to the loch.
In addition to renaming the airport, increasing the “uniformity” of signage around the banks of the loch, was also mentioned by Mr Cameron. He also said that there is an issue with too many of the present signs giving off a negative message, such as “No parking” or “No camping.”
One member of the audience suggested an added attraction around the loch would be to erect signs at specific points where alleged sightings of had taken place along the shore.
Graeme Ambrose, T Bid project manager, said earlier this week that clearing tress on the south side of the loch to improve access was a priority under the group’s plans.
Yesterday at the seminar he said: “Loch Ness is attracting more businesses to the area but how they use the marketing appeal of Nessie to make their business work is the key.”
Plans to form T Bid were endorsed by local businesses in March following a ballot, which revealed 123 in favour and 29 against.
The new group will invest around £1 million in the next five years, with emphasis on the conference and business tourism sector and infrastructure improvements.