Speyside’s Malt Whisky Trail could form the backbone of a tourist trail in Moray to rival the North Coast 500.
Thousands of motorists have hit the road to see the best of the Highlands, as promoted by the route.
Now there are proposals to create a Moray version of tourist draw, encompassing its stunning coastline, scenic golf courses and rugged castles.
The Malt Whisky Trail already runs down the length of the region with stops at historic distilleries.
Yesterday Visit Scotland backed the idea of setting up a route through Speyside to show off the best the area has to offer.
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead revealed he had learned the region had already become a stop-off for tourists heading to and from the Highlands.
He said: “The NC500 has been an outstanding success and I’d like to see what lessons can be learned for Moray and Speyside.
“The idea of a developing a famous route promoted by local businesses taking in our whisky distilleries, castles, cathedrals and coastal communities could provide a world famous visitor experience.
“We have the food and drink and we have the amazing heritage as well. Perhaps there is a way to link our existing trails such as the Malt Whisky Trail with the other trails we have in the region.”
Mr Lochhead added: “Of course it can’t be a carbon copy of NC500 as it must reflect Speyside and Moray’s uniqueness but it could certainly be inspired by it.”
The NC500 loop of the Highlands has earned the region travel awards and been featured on television shows including Top Gear since it launched two years ago.
A trade boom from the surge of traffic is expected to create more than 200 new jobs in the Highlands.
The southern tip of Moray could also reap the awards from plans to develop a Snow Roads Scenic Route encompassing the A93 and A939 from Blairgowrie through Aberdeenshire and Tomintoul before finishing in Grantown.
Last night Jo Robinson, regional director of Visit Scotland, praised the benefits the tourist highway had brought to Caithness and Sutherland.
She added: “With its world-famous Malt Whisky Trail, breathtaking coastlines and stunning historical attractions, Moray has plenty to delight visitors and lends itself well to the concept of a tourism trail.
“Tourism is more than a holiday experience, it creates jobs and sustains communities, any proposal that could help grow local tourism is very much welcomed.”