A new way ahead

HOST is planning to re-launch its new tourist map and information guide this Easter

The 2020 season was a difficult time for those involved in tourism, with Covid-19 placing strict restrictions on the sector. Many were looking forward to a new fresh start in 2021 with news of the successful vaccination scheme boosting that confidence. However, recent statements that Easter holidays will not be recommended, and overseas travel may not happen in the summer has made business owners more pessimistic.

Throughout the pandemic HOST has been there for its members, sharing government information and news about grant and loan schemes and continuing to showcase the best of the region for future holiday plans. As the new tourism season approaches as a group, we will begin to increase our promotion of not just the Heart of Sutherland area, but the businesses located there. Via our social media channels, we will advise visitors of just what is on offer for a trip to the area whenever restrictions allow: from great accommodation, wonderful places to eat, stunning scenery and must- see visitor attractions. Last year we were due to launch our new tourism map and information guide, unfortunately our planned launch at Easter had to be cancelled. However, we now intend to re-launch it this Easter with a press release, and copies distributed to local businesses, cafes & restaurants, accommodation providers and tourist information centres. We hope that this will give visitors a great tool to plan a future trip as well as promoting what our region has to offer. If you would like some copies of our new map, either for yourselves or your business, please email secretary@heartofsutherland.co.uk

In other news HOST held its AGM in December where we looked back at the previous season and announced our plans for 2021. When many of the current committee joined, we set ourselves plans for what we wanted the group to achieve: build a website, launch social media channels, design, and print a new tourism map and to establish ourselves as a recognized tourism group in the Highlands. The committee felt that we have achieved all of these aims and it was now time to look forward to the way ahead, with new plans and aims and objectives. It was felt that it was time to welcome new members onto the committee who have a drive and passion for the area and wish to take the group forward. Several members of committee also decided that this would be their last year in their roles and announced that they would be standing down at the next AGM. If you are involved in tourism and would like to join the committee and work with us over the coming year, we would love to welcome you. Just drop us an email.

Until then we are gearing up for what we hope will be a busy season and will all be giving 110% to do as much as we can to encourage visitors to spend their staycations in the Heart of Sutherland and give our businesses something to look forward to in 2021.

by Tracey Smith, Secretary Heart of Sutherland Tourism

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