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Why it's worth a Venture North

Press Release   •   Jan 20, 2016 11:40 GMT

A marketing project which aims to promote, showcase and highlight Caithness and Sutherland using a series of short films has been given a £10,000 boost from the VisitScotland Growth Fund.

The grant from the national tourism organisation has been awarded to Venture North for its ‘Venture North Discovery Series’ year-long marketing initiative to emphasise the many draws of the north Highlands.

The Growth Fund cash comprises half the cost of the £20,000 marketing push, with the other £10,000 coming from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Scottish and Southern Energy.

The campaign aims to highlight the attractions of both regions using marketing activity to increase visitor numbers to the area in quieter months and improve overall footfall in busier seasonal times.

The campaign will see three video shorts made covering themes such as dark skies, surf & watersports, the outdoors, visitor attractions and food and drink.

Founded in 2012, Venture North is a group of businesses which focus on promoting the tourist offer of Caithness & Sutherland. Its aim is to benefit not only the tourism economy but also the wider communities and the campaign will be very different to any marketing activity previously used in the area.

Amongst its goals, Venture North Discovery series aims to:

  • Increase visitor numbers by 15% and the average overnight spend per head by 10-15%
  • Showcase the Caithness & Sutherland are as an ideal holiday destination on a wide international platform
  • Highlight the abundance of visitor activities and tourism providers in C&S while documenting the local area’s natural attractions
  • Increase membership numbers for Venture North to fund future projects and aid direct collaboration between local businesses and local or national tourism organisations

Multiple social media strands will be used to showcase the series and press familiarisation (fam) trips will be planned.

Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director, said:

“We are delighted to support Venture North’s new marketing campaign through the VisitScotland Growth Fund and I am sure Venture North Discovery series will inspire even more people to enjoy Caithness and Sutherland’s great visitor activities.

“This area is well-known for its numerous rare plants, insects and birds. We hope this marketing campaign will attract even more visitors to this region not only because of its natural beauty and incredible dark skies, but also to experience its watersports and fishing; cycling, walking and climbing and its food and drink.”

Jo Wyke, a Director of Venture North and current committee member, said:

“Venture North has come together as an organisation of local businesses working together to promote the many draws that Caithness & Sutherland has to offer our visitors.

“One of the best ways to direct that spotlight was to formulate a focused year-long online marketing campaign showcasing a series of promotional films encouraging travellers to ‘Venture North’.

“VisitScotland and the Growth Fund was the perfect home for the project and both SSE and NDA have also come on board and we are grateful for their support.

“We are delighted that VisitScotland has seen the potential of the Venture North Discovery series of films, but most importantly that they have recognised how much this beautiful area has to offer and that it merits the platform that this initiative will offer. Their support is invaluable and we look forward to working with them over 2016.

“This year will be an exciting one for Caithness & Sutherland and we can’t wait to get to work on showing the way north to an even wider audience.”

The VisitScotland Growth Fund supports a range of regional, national and sectoral groups to deliver marketing campaigns to UK and International audiences.

Funding can cover 50 per cent of approved marketing costs from a minimum award of £5,000 up to a maximum of £40,000. 

Applications are welcome from both new and existing partnerships. For more information, go to

For more information about Venture North, visit

- ENDS -

Pictured are Dark Skies at Scrabster Harbour, Thurso. Jill Innes

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
  • 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.
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, the tourism economy supports 270,000 jobs in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the tourism      economy contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • 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)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business events in Scotland go to

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