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 in the UK when established in 2014 and operates within a defined destination 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.

To find out more about how membership of Visit Inverness Loch Ness can benefit your business click here.

Group on a tour

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 – next Ballot date in March

The goals of the Tourism BID

  1. Ensure that the destination remains competitive with other similar sized destinations both nationally and internationally
  2. Continue to grow the value and importance of tourism to the local economy
  3. Create confidence in the destination for tourism businesses to invest and create more quality, all year-round jobs
  4. Enhance the visitor experience and reputation of the destination
  5. Ensure the long-term sustainability of a viable and attractive tourism destination that visitors will value and return to

In order to achieve these goals, the organisation is committed to delivering initiatives, both independently and in collaboration with others, under six key objectives which are as follows:

  1. To better market and promote the destination nationally and internationally  
  2. To undertake initiatives that will improve the tourism infrastructure of the destination, particularly that relating to outdoor activities 
  3. To promote and support new and existing sustainable events and festivals
  4. To grow the value and importance of business tourism to the destination by attracting more conferences and business-related events
  5. To provide business development opportunities for member businesses  
  6. To be a strong lobbying voice on local and national issues that matter to member businesses

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.

Map of Inverness showing BID area for VILN

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 

Infrastructure

  • 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