New Nessie campaign to inspire more international tourists to visit Inverness & Loch Ness

16 March 2016

A set of ‘tips' to help monster hunters track down Loch Ness' most famous resident, the Loch Ness Monster, is at the heart of a new campaign to inspire international visitors to book a trip to Inverness and Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands outside the busy summer months.

The Inverness Loch Ness digital marketing campaign, run by national tourism agency VisitBritain, kicks off this week across three markets - the Netherlands, France and the US. The three-week campaign, part of a longer-term plan to drive international tourism to the area, uses a series of visual ‘tips for monster hunting' to highlight the amazing experiences, culture and countryside on offer in the Inverness and Loch Ness area. 

One ‘tip' encourages visitors to ‘build up your courage' by visiting the Glen Ord whisky distillery, another recommends that monster hunters ‘step into camouflage' by donning a Scottish kilt and hiding out at The Dores Inn, Inverness, while another advises hunters to ‘patrol the area' by taking to a kayak on Loch Beinn a' Mheadhoin. 

VisitBritain Director of Marketing Joss Croft said: 

"The Loch Ness and Inverness area is a fantastic destination to be enjoyed all year round. From exploring the majestic lochs and soaring highlands to soaking up the atmosphere of the cosy pubs and traditional inns, we want to inspire visitors to book a trip and come and visit right now so the economic benefits of tourism are spread throughout more of the year."

VisitInvernessLochNess Chief Executive Graeme Ambrose said: 

"Drawing inspiration from the enduring appeal of the Loch Ness Monster is a great way of showing just how much our area has to offer to international visitors at different times of the year, and we hope it will encourage more people to come and experience this fantastic place for themselves."

VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcom Roughead said:

"The Inverness Loch Ness campaign complements our recently launched Spirit of Scotland creative campaign using powerful landscape imagery and friendly locals as reasons to visit. It's great to be working on this project with VisitBritain and VisitInvernessLochNess to help businesses extend their season and we hope it will encourage more visitors to experience this area outside peak times, sustaining jobs and communities."

This phase of the campaign in the Netherlands, France and the US runs until the end of March with another digital marketing push due to get underway later this year. The area is also being regularly promoted overseas through visits by international media and travel buyers and with local businesses and destination partners attending international trade events.

The Inverness Loch Ness campaign, which has been developed with input from the Scottish national tourist agency VisitScotland and locally by VisitInvernessLochNess, is part of the UK Government's GREAT Britain campaign which promotes Britain internationally, inspiring more overseas visitors to come and see for themselves what makes all its nations and regions great places to visit.

The latest figures from VisitBritain show that there were more than 260,000 international visits to Inverness in 2014, and 2.7 million visits to Scotland. 

Overall, 2015 set a record for inbound tourism to Britain with 35.8m visits overall, 4% up on 2014. Comparing growth over the last five years shows that there were six million more visits in 2015 than 2010, an increase of 20%. 

VisitBritain's forecast for 2016 shows that the growth in visitor numbers is set to continue with 36.7m visits expected. Spending by overseas visitors is predicted to reach almost £23 billion this year, a 4.2% increase on spending in 2015. 

This puts VisitBritain on track to realise its ambition for growing international visits to Britain by more than 20% to 42m visits by 2020, which could see an additional £4.5 billion in visitor spend. 

Tourism is Britain's seventh largest export industry and third largest service sector. The industry is also a major job creator, for example every 22 additional Chinese visitors that come to Britain create an additional job in the sector. Inbound tourism is worth more than £26 billion to the UK economy.


To download the first visuals for the Inverness Loch Ness click here

For more information please contact Tracey Edginton at VisitBritain:  020 7578 1098 or 07974 111 076