Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is the Scottish Government’s economic and community development agency for a diverse region which covers more than half of Scotland. HIE aims to build sustainable economic growth in all parts of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland from its headquarters in Inverness. Tourism is a major source of the economy in the Highlands and Islands and in Scotland as a whole.
As an industry, tourism is worth £4.1 billion per year to the Scottish economy (5 per cent of GDP), with estimates predicting this economic value to grow to £6.0 billion by 2015. In terms of employment, Scottish tourism has created jobs for an estimated 210,000 people in 20,000 diverse businesses, nine per cent of the total workforce (13 per cent in the Highlands). In fact, tourism pays the wages of more people than the oil, gas and whisky industries combined.
In association with Scottish Development International, HIE are encouraging tourism businesses throughout the Scottish Highlands and Islands to grow their overseas market. Crucial in this is encouraging tourism groups and individual businesses to set high quality standards by adopting international best practice on:
• customer service quality
• authentic, distinctive and contemporary experiences
• product and destination development
• and international trade development