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Flagship ICentre to open in the Highland Capital

Press Release   •   Jun 13, 2017 09:00 BST

Iconic and inspirational imagery and free WiFi to help visitors plan and book their stay are part of a new flagship VisitScotland iCentre, due to open in Inverness on 27th June.**

This new gateway to the Highlands will see the current iCentre relocate from its premises in Castle Wynd to a new, improved and more prominent location at 36 High Street, which is closer to transport hubs and more accessible.

The Highland capital’s official source for information on everything there is to do and see in Inverness and the Highlands welcomed almost 119,000 visitors through its doors in 2016 – a 5% increase on the previous year.

The new iCentre will be a hub for promoting the Highlands and the wider region as a visitor destination and will create an environment more fitting for visitors, with iconic and inspirational imagery along with a fresher and more modern look and feel.

It is hoped the relocation will increase the impact that the iCentre has on the visitor economy, encouraging locals and visitors alike to stay longer and spend more across the Highlands and Scotland.

The new iCentre will feature imagery of the Highlands to inspire customers to explore areas they would have otherwise missed. An orientation panel will help visitors plan their holiday and will have a dedicated area to promote the hugely popular North Coast 500 route.

Free WiFi will be offered to visitors, as well as an area where they can recharge their phones. Insights have shown that visitors prefer to use their own devices to access content and free WiFi provision will enable this.

With 142sq metres of floor space, the layout of the new centre is designed to manage the flow of visitors, with zoning areas for ease of navigation and the new premises also has double display windows at the front, offering good visibility.

VisitScotland’s busy iCentre in Portree recently underwent a similar refurbishment and in the first fortnight of reopening, has already welcomed more than 11,000 visitors. Ticket sales have been up more than 7% and the feedback has been positive from both local residents and visitors.

The new layout will include racking for literature, large-scale wall graphics and local and national wall maps to help visitors plan their journey. The usual accommodation and ticketing services are being retained and opening hours remain the same.

Also included in the new iCentre will be products sold as part of new retail initiative, Shop Local.Initially launched as a pilot in 2016, Shop Local is now being rolled out across the country, offering the opportunity for communities, local businesses, craft makers, artists, designers and others to promote and sell their products to visitors via the VisitScotland iCentre network.

A number of Shop Local suppliers will be selling their products within the iCentre, including Tain Pottery, Highland Crackers, Reids of Caithness, Asher’s Bakery and Hairy Coo. The centre will also stock Isle of Skye Sea Salt and Isle of Skye Fudge.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotlandsaid: “The creation of this state-of-the-art VisitScotland iCentre is a positive investment story for Inverness and the Highlands.

“We want to deliver quality information, inspiration and advice to our visitors in a modern, accessible environment where they can choose from a variety of tools to help them see, do and spend more in the Highlands and Scotland.

“This fantastic new facility, with a complete internal redesign, will offer new opportunities for visitors, locals and businesses in 2017 and beyond and the new location will help drive footfall to the city centre.

“We are committed to information provision in Inverness and are confident that this relocation will offer a sustainable solution which will best serve our visitors and businesses not only to Inverness, but to the whole of the Highlands and beyond.

“The delivery of visitor information is changing and in Inverness, this will be further boosted by the 64* Visitor Information Partners (VIPs) in the area – a network of local ambassadors who can give first-hand local information to the visitor to enable them to access quality information across the region.

By actively recruiting businesses to the VIP programme, more information will be delivered to more people through more touch points.”

Mr Roughead added:Our iCentres remain at the heart of information delivery – we are focused on running the right centres in the right place, with the right look, employing the right people and delivering the right experience.

“With almost 119,000 people visiting Inverness iCentre last year, we are committing to providing an iCentre that meets and exceeds users’ needs, giving them the optimal experience, information and inspiration.”

The VIP programme is open to all VisitScotland Quality Assured businesses, as well as community groups, local authority-operated library services and social enterprises. The initiative is designed to give each and every establishment the ability to provide more and better quality information directly to visitors. It will also add value to the services on offer and make it easier than ever before for visitors to connect with local people.

For more information on VisitScotland’s information provision strategy, please visit www.visitscotland.org

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit www.gov.scot or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit visitscotland.com/HHA2017 or join the conversation at #HHA2017