Media Release: Scottish tourism industry brought together to innovate

TOURISM businesses and professionals in the Highlands and Islands are being invited to find out how tapping into the latest visitor trends will help them grow their share of the market at an exciting conference split over two locations and broadcast online.

Accommodation providers, tourist attractions and businesses who produce quality goods from across Scotland are joining together for the special event on Thursday 20 May.

Tourism Intelligence Scotland and the Tourism Innovation Group, with funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Enterprise, are hosting the eighth annual Tourism Innovation Day (TID) which is being held simultaneously in Edinburgh and Inverness.

“Using the latest cutting edge technology attendees will have the opportunity to hear from a range of outstanding speakers, including the chance to ask questions, hear the latest global and local visitor trends and share experiences. We are delighted that the workshop in Inverness will feature high profile local businesses who will share their experiences on how issues like technology, local produce and sustainability are shaping their strategies,” said Chris Taylor, head of Tourism & Food and Drink at HIE.

The Tourism Innovation Day will be held in the John McIntyre Conference Centre, Edinburgh and The Green House, Inverness. Speakers in Edinburgh will be broadcast live to the participants in Inverness and questions can be submitted to the speakers by text message or email during the event.

Local businesses hosting workshops in Inverness are Audrey Hogan of Caley Cruisers, Bill and Sukie Barber of Bluebell Croft, Ardnamurchan and Paul Easto of Wilderness Scotland. These workshops will focus on issues relevant to the area, with Paul Easto leading a session on practical Sustainable Tourism.

Each of the Inverness speakers is known for going the extra mile for their customers and is willing to give tips and advice on how to provide the best customer experience.

Paul Easto commented: “We’re really looking forward to the first Tourism Innovation Day in Inverness. The Highlands and Islands are a special place with exciting potential for significant tourism growth. Innovation and collaboration will be key to realising this potential and have been a fundamental part of our business strategy over the past ten years.”

As director of family-run Caley Cruisers, Audrey Hogan has gained a reputation for excellence in service and customer care, and consistently pushes the boundaries of innovation in the industry. Celebrating their 40-year anniversary in 2010, Caley Cruisers is a genuine success story.

Bluebell Croft offers self-catering accommodation with a difference. Bill and Sukie Barber, previously of Old Pines Restaurant with Rooms now have a croft with five-star and GTBS (Green Tourism Business Scheme) Gold accredited self catering accommodation.

They have a house cow, rear pigs, cattle, and poultry for meat and eggs and grow lots of fruit and vegetables. Guests can eat food produced on the croft or order supper/dinner by Sukie, former ‘Rural Chef of the Year’ and winner of VisitScotland’s Flavour of Scotland.

They are about to install a wood burning boiler and wind turbine to eventually create the chance of a carbon neutral holiday and are keen supporters of Sustainable Tourism, Slow Food and the Lochaber Environmental group.

“We have long been promoters of Scottish ingredients, once taking a stand to Slow Food’s Solone del Gusto in Turin, and the importance of provenance,” said Bill Barber. “We have now taken the next step, producing most of our food ourselves. We share it and our enthusiasm for local, fresh, seasonal food with our guests and friends and are convinced its not just good for our health, local communities and the environment but also our business.”

Speakers in Edinburgh but broadcast to Inverness for the interactive workshops include Gareth Williams, co-founder of Skyscanner, Michael Williams, founder of Trajectory Partners and Chris Barez-Brown, founder of Upping Your Elvis.

Online participants will be able to tune in for the keynote speakers and take part in the live question and answer sessions by messaging questions directly.

For more information and to book a place, visit


Notes to Editors:

HIE’s role is to develop sustainable economic growth across the region. To achieve this, it creates infrastructure for future investment, assists large and small businesses with growth aspirations and has a unique role strengthening communities, particularly in fragile areas.

HIE supports the growth ambitions of business and social enterprise clients by creating close working relationships in order to accelerate growth in turnover, profitability, wage levels, exports and therefore Gross Value Added (GVA) in the HIE area.

HIE also invests in transformational projects across the region to make the Highlands and Islands a more competitive and attractive place to live, work, study and grow.

The region covered by HIE takes in more than half of Scotland, and is home to around 440,000 people. See for more information.

Wilderness Scotland is an award-winning adventure travel and ecotourism company. We specialise in small group walking holidays and adventure holidays in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. In 2009, National Geographic Adventure ranked Wilderness Scotland as the No.1 Adventure Travel Company in Europe. We are the only Scottish company to hold AITO’s five-star Responsible Tourism award. For more information, visit

For more information on Bluebell Croft, visit

For more information on Caley Cruisers, visit

The Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) is the national sustainable tourism certification scheme for the UK. Originally developed in partnership with Visit Scotland, it is now the only certification scheme validated by Visit Britain, through the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT).

MEDIA RELEASE posted by Highlands and Islands Enterprise. You too can post media releases (aka press releases) on For more information, email here.

Contact: HIE Communications