About Visit Inverness Loch Ness

Visit Inverness Loch Ness aims to create a stronger and more sustainable destination for its diverse membership of over 400 tourism businesses, 44 communities and its visitors who are drawn from around the world. 

The organisation became the first Tourism Business Improvement District (BID) in the UK when established in 2014 and operates within a defined destination area that covers over 1200 square miles, including the Highland Capital Inverness and world famous Loch Ness. To support its members, who operate in more than 30 sectors, the organisation delivers a range of activities from its business plan including marketing, infrastructure, events, business tourism, business development and lobbying. 

In 2022 the organisation was named the first carbon neutral BID in the UK and has also signed the Glasgow Climate Declaration and the Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency declaration in line with its sustainability goals. The team has doubled in size since in the past two years, including the appointment of the first Loch Ness Ranger, whilst being shortlisted for the SCDI Highland Award for Excellence in People Development. The organisation is well placed to play a vital role for its members and the destination in the recovery from the pandemic. 

Discover how your business can benefit from Visit Inverness Loch Ness membership here.

Who are we and why join us?

Want to know more about being a member of Visit Inverness Loch Ness - watch this short video that highlights who we are and what we do! 

Our Timeline

2006 – Destination Loch Ness established – a voluntary Destination Manager Organisation (DMO)

2012 – Concept of evolving to a Tourism BID raised

2014 – Uniqueness Tourism BID registered, the first Tourism BID in the UK, replacing Destination Loch Ness

2015 – Visit Inverness Loch Ness established after rebranding from Uniqueness

2019 – Successful re-ballot, renewed for a further five-year term

2024 – Successful re-ballot, renewed for a further five-year term to 2029

The BID area

The area includes the following Highland Council Wards:
12 Aird & Loch Ness, 13 Inverness West, 14 Inverness Central – excluding the area covered by Inverness City Centre BID, 15 Inverness Ness-Side, 16 Inverness Millburn, 17 Culloden and Ardersier, 19 Inverness South

The map below shows the perimeter of the destination as determined by the boundary lines of the council wards. Further information about the council wards can be found here.

Joint Map BID area

Next 5 Years – Vision, Aims & Objectives (2024-2029)

The Mission, Aims and Objectives of Visit Inverness Loch Ness have been formulated
based on feedback from our member businesses, whilst remaining mindful of:
• The objectives laid out in Scotland Outlook 2030
• The Sustainable Development Goals highlighted in our Climate Action Plan
• Partner/funding agency policies – Highland Council, HIE, Scotland Food & Drink,
Paths for All, as examples.

Mission statement of Visit Inverness and Loch Ness Tourism BID
Ensure the long-term future of a viable, responsible, and attractive tourism destination that visitors will
value and return to.

The Aims of the Inverness and Loch Ness Tourism BID
By working together as one destination the Tourism BID aims to:
• Ensure that the destination remains front of mind for both domestic and international travelers
looking for somewhere to spend their time
• Continue to promote the value and importance of tourism to the local economy
• Continue working towards a year-round tourism economy and destination
• Continue to develop the relationship between tourism and the communities it serves
• Enhance the visitor experience and reputation of the destination


Promoting and Marketing our Destination
• To continue marketing and promoting the destination locally, nationally, and internationally
• To provide opportunities for members to enhance their knowledge and skills base to
effectively market themselves and the destination to their target audience/s
• Keep up to date with new technologies, channels and trends in social media marketing to
enhance our promotions and campaigns
• Continue collaborative work with external partners and key stakeholders to increase
destination awareness to new audiences
• Continue collaborative work with creators to further promote the destination and member
businesses creatively and effectively

Discover Our City

Visitor Experience and Destination Development
• To provide members with access to the tools, information and experience needed to develop
their business in a responsible manner, which delivers improvements for people, places, and profit
• To work with appropriate agencies in identifying and supporting initiatives that will improve
the tourism infrastructure of the destination
• To promote and support responsible events and festivals, with additional focus on those
which encourage visitors during traditionally quieter periods
• Leverage our position on the Highland Events & Festivals Group to encourage support for a
more extensive winter programme which goes beyond the city
• To develop initiatives that encourage visitors to treat our communities and historical,
cultural & natural assets responsibly and with respect
• Work with stakeholders in the region to promote, create and market events including
Highland News Media, High Life Highland, Highland Council, Scotland Food & Drink etc.
• Continue to promote active travel as a priority amongst visitors to encourage
responsible tourism
• Increase our work with members and communities to identify priority projects and provide
assistance with applying for funding and identifying resources, in order to bring them about.

Shortbread Showdown 2024

Business Events & Travel Trade
• To continue our work with members to retain existing Business Events, whilst identifying and
developing new opportunities for the growth of conferencing and business events in the area
• To work with our members in highlighting the benefits of working with the Travel Trade and
ensuring they are equipped to make the most of the opportunities available
• To respond to enquiries and provide support with proposals, contacts and funding options
• To promote the area as a location for television, movies & media. Assist with location
finding/suggestions. Facilitate contact with local authority and landowners regarding approvals.

Group of delegates

Member Representation
• To be a representative voice on local and national issues that matter to our members.
Including, but not limited to:
• Be an active participant in discussions with Highland Council on decisions relating to the
implementation and use of the Transient Visitor Levy
• Continue as a voice for the members on efforts to bring positive improvements to the Short
Term Let licensing legislation.
• Work with our colleagues at the Highland Tourism Partnership to represent the wider voice
of Highland businesses

Networking Event

Member Engagement, Networking and Collaboration
• To further develop our member communication strategy
• Deliver regular networking events based around member wants/needs and where we
identify further opportunities
• To provide additional opportunities for member collaboration.
• Building on the success of the ‘Taster of Inverness’ event. Looking to offer similar
opportunities in other sectors and across a broader range of members
• Facilitate business showcase talks/webinars to encourage members to share what they
do/best practice
• Work with members to identify other areas where collaboration can be of benefit
• To work collaboratively with other sectors, local communities, and neighbouring areas for
mutual benefit
• Develop a partner/sponsor programme with a view to securing support for events and projects, as
well as more direct benefits for members. E.g. Discounts on services, supplies, training etc.

Taster of Inverness

A Safe and Secure Destination
• Collaborate with Inverness City BID to facilitate and invest in the extension of, and access to, the
independent commercial ShopSafe Radio System currently operating in the city centre. This will link
businesses from the wider city area, including retail parks, with Police Scotland, and the
Operations Centre, allowing them to share information that helps drive down crime across all
business sectors.
• Lead on collaboration with Police Scotland, businesses, The Highland Council, communities, and relevant
crime reduction groups to identify any issues, collate information and intelligence about criminal activity,
and agree action/response plans where needed.


Key Achievements 2019 - 2024

The Visit Inverness Loch Ness Tourism BID was developed in the belief that Inverness, Loch Ness and
surrounds are not separate destinations but one, and that by working together we have the opportunity
to continue to maximise the strengths of the area for the long-term benefit of tourism and the area by
building on what has been achieved to date.

Despite the challenges that tourism and the wider world has faced over the last five years which
resulted from Brexit, a Global Pandemic, Fuel Price increases and the inflated costs of doing business,
Visit Inverness Loch Ness has still been successful in:
• Delivering the 2019-2024 Business Plan in full
• Securing additional funding for activities over and above that specified in the 2019
Business Plan, to the value of £1.25M
Specific achievements include:


Marketing & Promotion

• 900k See & Do maps, promoting VILN Members, distributed free of charge to visitors
• New website developed
• Loch Ness live cameras have brought over 300,000 visits to our website with hours of live
streaming viewed
• 100k referrals to member websites
• 1350 images and videos added to the online library for member use
• 79% growth in social media followers
• 42 Million social media reach

Social media


• Hosted a number of online competitions, with members/partners collaborating to provide prizes
and experiences for winners attracting over 40,000 entries
• Regular press and media coverage including local, national and international newpapers and
magazines, TV and Radio on topics to promote the destination and tourism industry
• Over 200 media enquiries/requests received, and supported
• Creation of high quality, destination promotional videos that were seen worldwide,
including New York Tartan week. “View videos here”
• Influencer Lodge project, brought several travel content creators to the area that produced a
range of videos, blogs and social media content promoting the destination globally
• Refreshed Visit Inverness Loch Ness branding
• Facilitated the filming of an episode of a prime time TV show in the area
(non-disclosure agreement in place at time of this publication)
• South Loch Ness Trail signage renewed
• Support Local banners erected alongside River Ness, Millburn Road, Beauly, Foyers, Ardersier,
Cannich, and Dores.

See and do map 2023/2024


Loch Ness Challenge
• Welcomed 300 entrants and their support crews to the area for a 3 day long event
that spanned the whole destination area.

Highland Shortbread Showdown
• 300 attendees at 2023 Shortbread Showdown Shortlisting event at
the Victorian Market.
• 1000 attendees at the 2023 Highland Shortbread Showdown Final
at Inverness Cathedral.
• Created a working collaboration with 8 DMO’s we brought
together competitors from across the Highlands, along with locals
and visitors for this inaugural event.

Highlands first Photomarathon hosted and captured over 300 winter images

Loch Ness Festival

Taster of Inverness
• 250 attendees at the inaugural 2023 event held at the Dumossie Hotel.
• This 3-day event involved bringing 10 Scottish Food & Drink influencers to the area to
experience firsthand what we have to offer and to tell their global audiences about it.
• This included accommodation, food and drink hospitality, and experiences all around the
• The networking day encouraged business to business collaboration showcasing the produce
they have on offer, and delivered many new connections between local businesses.

Taster of Inverness

Pedal Power
• Held in Drumnadrochit to promote active outdoor experiences, active travel businesses
and the area.
• Around 250 locals and visitors came to enjoy the event with booked cycling experiences and
tasters on offer.

Active Ness
• Over 300 people came along to the event held at Torvean Park, Inverness to promote active
travel and outdoor activity based businesses in the area, bringing awareness to a relatively new
activity area and endeavoured to suit a variety of demographics.
• Cycling, kayaking and accessible bike experiences were available.

Pedal Power

Introduction of the Food & Drink Fortnight in collaboration with Inverness City BID
• A promotional fortnight in Jan/Feb 2024 for food and drink business to offer visitors and locals
a deal or experience to showcase what we have and encourage business in the shoulder months.

Over 40 Networking Events & Webinars
• Regular member networking events covering a range of key topics, including sustainability,
short term let, food & drink, outdoor activities, and business familiarisation.
• Regular webinars giving members access to



Business Tourism
23 trade events attended worldwide to promote the destination, and members, to international buyers
• Facilitating multiple tourism events, conferences and incentive travel resulting in an economic
benefit of over £3M*
• In addition, we assisted in securing the Scottish Golf Tourism Week taking place in March 2024,
which is estimated to bring a further £3M* of economic benefit
(*based on VisitScotland average delegate spend figures).

Trade show, meet us

Business Development and Collaboration
• 43% increase in opt-in membership
• Climate Action Plan implemented & became first Carbon Neutral BID in the UK
• Employed the first Loch Ness Ranger
• Lobbying, including Short Term Let, Transient Visitor Levy, and Covid Grant Support
• Brought together member businesses to form Culinary Strategy and Adventure Tourism Groups,
to develop strategy and action plans
• Inaugural Taster of Inverness – See detail under events. Whilst this was operated as an event, business
development was at the very heart of it
• Regular member newsletters with latest industry news, updates & B2B member offers
• 5 for 5 business presentation opportunity for members


Business Plan 2024 - 2029

The majority of our business plan aims, goals and objectives are above, along side all of the achievements for the previous 5 years.

To read our full business plan for the next 5 years

Click HERE

Business plan front page

Our Key achievements 2014 - 2019

Marketing and Promotion

  • In collaboration with VisitBritain, delivery of a £2M four-year marketing campaign aimed at increasing international visitors from key international markets to the destination in the shoulder months. In 2017/2018 alone there were 15.4M opportunities to view the campaign activity online 
  • Developing a strong website presence for the destination – average of 38,000 unique sessions per month on www.visitinvernesslochness.com in 2018  
  • Developing a strong social media presence –   33K Facebook likes, 2000 Instagram followers to date
  • Hosting over 50 media, travel influencers and travel trade visits to the destination resulting in over 300 international media articles and features
  • or the past four years producing a ‘See and Do’ map, free for members 


  • Completing the development of the 55km South Loch Ness Trail from Fort Augustus to Inverness, opening the way for development of a LochNess360° trail.  
  • In partnership with Forest Enterprise Scotland, improving access to the shores of Loch Ness and laybys on the south side

Events and Festivals

  • Managing the delivery of Knitfest in 2016, the first international knitting festival in Inverness. With over 1100 visitors this had an estimated economic benefit of £450K and established the event as one of the key annual events in the destination
  • Facilitating the Social Travel Summit in Inverness in 2016. The summit brought together 48 of the world’s top travel influencers from 17 different countries and resulted in 54M impressions on social media of #STSInverness 
  • Sponsorship of Etape Loch Ness 2016 -2018

Business Tourism

  • Facilitating multiple business tourism events and conferences resulting in an economic benefit to the destination in excess of £1.3M (Based on VisitScotland average delegate spend figures)
  • Attending the leading national and international business tourism events to increase awareness and to encourage buyers to use Inverness and Loch Ness for their events and conferences
  • Creating a bespoke Business Tourism Directory for the destination

Business Development

  • In 2017 becoming only the second destination in Scotland to be awarded World Host destination status. This was achieved as a result of over 50 member businesses gaining World Host accreditation 
  • Supporting delivery of the Digital Tourism Scotland Programme. To date in excess of 100 member businesses have participated in the programme  
  • Establishing a programme of regular networking events for members 
  • Delivering the first Inverness and Loch Ness Tourism BID Conference in 2018 attended by over 100 people

Don't just take our word for it!

Want to know what our current members think about the benefits of being a member of Visit Inverness Loch Ness? Watch this short testimonial video and let them tell you themselves.

Sustainable Tourism

Climate Action and Sustainability is at the forefront of the Inverness Loch Ness Destination.

We believe it is vital to protect the destination not only for the visitors, but for the locals living and working in and around the area for generations to come. Our work includes, what we can do as an organisation, what we can do to support our membership businesses and how we can support our visitors to include sustainability in our work, business and travel decisions and plans.