An increase in large ocean cruise liners is set to help the Highlands break all previous records for summer season visitors.
Between June and September, more than 65 vessels are set to stop at Invergordon – a 20 per cent increase on last year.
The cruise development manager at the port, Captain Ian Dunderdale, explained that higher capacity ships will bring somewhere in the region of 95,000 visitors to the area; he also said he’s expecting a record year.
Dunderdale went on to say that it is not the end, with greater potential to fulfil throughout the region. Other ports in the Highlands are already eager to be included in the list of designated stopping points for cruises.
It is all great news for local businesses, with Highland councillors recently being told that Fort William could be set to break visitor records too. This alone would bring in much-needed extra cash to the Lochaber economy.
Businesses in the Highlands and throughout the rest of Scotland are ripe to tap into increase visitor numbers too, with many having shored up their finances through such facilities as invoice discounting in recent years.
However, for the Highlands to really achieve its full board potential, there are a few challenges that need to be addressed. In Loch Linnhe, for example, the calling point for visitors to Fort William, only smaller and feeder vessels can visit as there are issues posed by the Corran Narrows, as well as the pier.