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VILN Tourism BID Achievements

VisitInvernessLochNess Tourism BID was developed to build on the strength of the local tourism industry by bringing Loch Ness, Inverness and the surrounding area together as one destination to better compete with other destinations nationally and internationally.

Over the past 5 years VILN has made good progress towards achieving the aims of the 5-year business plan. The key achievements are listed below.

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Visit Inverness Loch Ness – Key Achievements

1. Securing additional funding for activities over and above that specified in the 2014 Business Plan to the value of £507,000

2. In 2015 securing £2M for the marketing of Inverness & Loch Ness in key international markets by VisitBritain for the period 2015-2019. Inverness & Loch Ness were the only area in Scotland to receive this funding thanks to Danny Alexander, the then Sec. to the Treasury and was only possible because of the legislative basis of the organisation as a BID. The aim of the campaign is to generate a ROI of 9:1 and generate an additional 2.03 M tourism spend in the area
Measuring the ROI is extremely difficult but based on the reach of campaign activity we know that to date has been very successful. Some key statistics from 2017/2018 are as follows:
• 172K visits to the Inverness& Loch Ness on VisitBritain website
• 68K competition entries
• 1.8M views of Visit Britain Inverness & Loch Ness videos
• 15.4M online impressions Inverness & Loch Ness
In addition since the campaign began in 2015 we have been able to facilitate over 50 trips of bloggers/influencers to the area resulting in over 300 international media articles and features

3. VisitBritain bringing the Social Travel Summit to Inverness in 2016. Without the close collaborative working between VILN and VB this would never have happened. It brought 48 of the world’s top influencers to the city for three days. The hashtag #STSInverness generated more than 54 million ‘opportunities to see’ across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (source: Brandseye.com, period: 1 Sept. – 10 Oct. 2016), with a reach of 5 million Twitter accounts alone. This equals an advertising value in excess of GBP 700 thousand (source: Brandseye.com)

4. Securing £250,000 of additional funding for completion of the South Loch Ness Trail completed August 2018. Its completion is now enabling VILN to take forward the development and marketing of a ‘Loch Ness 360°’ trail for walkers, with potentially massive economic benefit to not only Loch Ness but the wider area

5. Delivering Knitfest 2016, the first international knitting festival to be held in Inverness. The event attracted over 1,100 people from over 20 different countries and had an estimated economic impact locally of £450,000. Knitfest was passed to private operators for 2017 and with public sector backing based on the success of 2016, the event has become a mainstay of the Inverness event calendar in September

6. Achieving World Host Destination Status. In May 2017 Loch Ness & Inverness became only the second destination in Scotland to be awarded this prestigious status thanks to the work of VILN and member businesses who undertook the customer training programme. To achieve the award VILN ran 22 day courses over a 14 month period, 240 persons undertook the training and 53 businesses in the area were, as a result, awarded World Host status

7. Establishing a strong online presence for the destination. The website visitinvernesslochness.com presently averages over 38,000 unique sessions per month (when established in 2015 the average was less than 12,000 per month). The VILN Facebook page has presently over 33,000 followers and 3,000 followers on Instagram

8. Establishing a strong destination presence at VisitScotland EXPO. In 2018 the VILN stand, promoting Inverness & Loch Ness will be 60msq. With 9 members on the stand. In 2017 at EXPO VILN won two awards – Best Destination Area and Most Effective Stand for Doing Business

9. Securing long term funding support from the public sector to ensure that VILN has not only been able to employ a Business Tourism manager but also that the destination thus now has a presence at all major national and international BT events promoting the area to conference and event organisers. BT is worth almost £2B to the Scottish economy, and for the first time Inverness is getting a share of this lucrative market. Based on VisitScotland average delegate spend figures, the economic benefit to the destination has been in excess of £1.3M

10. Producing a ‘What’s to See and Do map’ available free to member businesses. In 2018 160,000 were printed. The map is also self sustainable with funds from a limited amount of advertising.

And finally developing a number of direct benefits to business which can be viewed here.

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Member benefits (December 2017)

Member survey results (December 2017)

2015 Achievements (PDF)

Progress Update 2014 – 2016 (PDF)

May 2016 Progress Update (PDF)

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