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Caithness News Bulletins November 2003

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Highland Tourism Businesses Aim for Monster Impact in London
The Scottish Highlands’ most famous resident, Nessie is preparing to forsake the waters of Loch Ness for the banks of the Thames at this year’s World Travel Market (WTM) in London.

The Loch Ness Monster will be backing the efforts of 37 North tourism businesses at the UK’s largest tourism and hospitality expo at the ExCel conference centre in London from 10-13 November.

A large model of the region’s most elusive resident prepared to journey south on Friday 7 November with assistance from Robbie Bremner, owner of the Loch Ness 2000 visitor attraction at Drumnadrochit.

Nessie will be helping the Highland businesses promote the region’s visitor attractions to world travel buyers on board the luxury passenger vessel Lord of the Glens which has been chartered for WTM 2003 by the Highlands Loch Ness (HLN) marketing group.

The vessel, which normally provides luxury cruising for visitors in the Highlands and Islands, has sailed to London and awaits the arrival of Nessie in time for the start of WTM 2003 on Monday. It will be the venue for a series of hospitality and promotional events by HLN and sponsors during the week, including the Highlands & Islands Film Commission.

The HLN members have been supported in the project to bring Nessie and the Lord of the Glens to London by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, The Highlands of Scotland Tourist Board, Best Western Hotels and British Airways.

HLN has exhibited at WTM for the past three years and last year the tourism expo attracted more than 27,000 trade visitors and 2,500 press representatives from across the globe. This year will provide an opportunity to build on existing relationships and promote the Highlands of Scotland and the wider Scottish tourism sector to travel agents and tour operators from all parts of the world.

Robbie Bremner said: “Nessie is a familiar site at Loch Ness 2000 and we are delighted that he will be flying the flag for the Highlands in London next week. As the region’s most famous symbol I am sure he will add colour to the efforts of all those Highland tourism businesses who are attending World Travel Market this year.”

Nairn hotelier and HLN member Andy Machen Young said: “The combination of Nessie and Lord of the Glens is going to give us a spectacular presence at this year’s World Travel Market. Over the past three years our presence at the event has generated over 230 serious trade enquiries from tour and travel buyers and this year we intend to build on the network of contacts we have established and develop new business for the region.

“The Highlands have a huge amount to offer visitors from the UK and overseas and is becoming more and more accessible, particularly by air. With low-cost airline Snowflake starting flights from Stockholm to Inverness next March the Scandinavian market is one area that we believe will prove increasingly important for the region in addition to the existing air links with the rest of Scotland, the Midlands and London.”