What’s Behind The Tourism Growth In Inverness?

Examining the tourism boom in Inverness

There’s no denying Inverness is in the midst of a tourism boom. While the rest of the UK has been enjoying an increase in tourism, our sleepy Highland capital is pitted to be one of the top European destinations this year. With more and more fabulous festivals, visitor attractions and world-famous sites, we thought we’d take a closer look at what’s behind the tourism growth in Inverness.

Daily Flights to Inverness

For many, the rise in visitors to the area has come off the back of a rise in daily flights to Inverness. From Heathrow, Amsterdam and beyond. British Airways reinstated its daily Heathrow to Inverness flights in May 2016 for the first time in almost 20 years. While Dutch operator KLM increased its flights from Inverness to Amsterdam from one to two flights a day in May 2017. What’s even more encouraging to see is that regional airport operator, Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL), continues to report record breaking passenger figures to the area. With a 17.6% increase at Inverness Airport during April and June 2017. While daily flights to Inverness cannot be solely responsible for the growth in tourism in Inverness. There’s no denying that as flights to Inverness increase, so does the number of visitors to the area.

Filming Locations Are Putting Inverness On The Map

But daily flights to Inverness are not the only things to have taken off. Inverness and the surrounding Scottish Highland’s have become a highly sought-after filming location. Harry Potter, Braveheart, Macbeth and Disney’s Brave have all shared the spotlight with the Scottish Highlands. And more recently, the small screen has thrust our beloved city into living rooms around the world over again. Fans from across the globe have taken their cue from shows like Outlander, The Grand Tour and The Loch to visit Inverness and relive the magic for themselves.

Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct in Scotland with the Jacobite steam train passing over
The Glenfinnan Viaduct was made famous by the Harry Potter movies

Music Festivals Are Striking All The Right Tourist Notes

Once again, Inverness has been taking centre stage as music tourism is set to boost Scotland’s economy by £334 million. 2017 has proven to be a star-studded year for Inverness. As some of the biggest names in the music biz added gigs in Inverness to their tours. Bryan Adams, Status Quo, UB40 and The Beach Boys have all taken the stage in Inverness. While our beloved Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival has claimed the title of the UK’s most popular summer music festival. As Inverness’ popularity grows, more and more festivals, gigs and events are heading to the Highlands. Which is music to any Inverness business owner’s ears.

An audience at a musical concert.

North Coast 500 Is Driving Visitors To The Highlands

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest drivers of tourism in Inverness and the surrounding Highlands has to be the growing popularity of the North Coast 500. Scotland’s answer to Route 66. This popular Scottish road trip (which starts and ends right here in Inverness) has attracted an additional 29,000 visitors to the area. And shown a 26% increase in visitor numbers since the route opened.

East Meets West As More Tourists Predicted From China

While tourism in Inverness is on the up and up, Inverness and Loch Ness could also benefit from an additional 12,000 visitors to the area each year. After a major deal was signed with a leading Chinese tour operator. This is a huge opportunity for Inverness as this large, untapped emerging market gets ready to grace our shores. And while businesses in Inverness are being urged to be “China-ready”, the already impressive growth in tourism in Inverness suggests businesses in Inverness need to be “world-visitor-ready”.

Aeroplane flying overhead at sunset

While we’ve only scratched the surface of the Highland tourism boom, there’s no ignoring the significant tourism growth in Inverness. To book your next business conference or corporate event in Inverness, contact us today.