The Bank's loan will support tourism and employment opportunities in a remote area of north Scotland, which is a crucial sector for the local economy and is vital to sustain communities and businesses. The money will be used to upgrade four hotels along the route, helping to create full-time jobs within Highland Coast Hotels and in the local area through supply chain investment.
The investment aligns with the Bank’s mission, to invest in places and regeneration to reduce inequalities and improve opportunities and outcomes for people and communities. In line with the Bank’s net zero mission, the investment will also embed sustainability in each hotel and support Highland Coast Hotels’ objective to achieve carbon neutrality.
Eilidh Mactaggart, CEO of the Scottish National Investment Bank said:
“Our investment will support a vital industry for the Highlands whilst securing quality employment, educational and training opportunities in rural communities.
The investment will also benefit local businesses through Highland Coast Hotels commitment to sourcing food, beverages and other supplies locally, and partnering with other local businesses who can offer activities and visitor experiences to its guests.”
David Whiteford, Chairman of Highland Coast Hotels, said:
“This investment from the Scottish National Investment Bank is not only significant for our highly-talented teams within Highland Coast Hotels, but also the much-valued communities in which we operate. We will continue develop hotels that communities can frequent and be proud of, whilst our aim is to source all produce from as close-by as we possibly can, bringing significant benefits to local supply chains. We are already engaging with a number of local artists, artisans, ‘visitor experience’ providers and food producers to build the authenticity of guest experiences, grow local businesses and stimulate the creation of ‘start-ups’. We’ve already established Community Liaison Committees for each hotel which will ensure local people and businesses are involved in key decisions that affect their way of life on the North Coast 500.
One of the biggest challenges that remote areas like this face is a lack of employment opportunities, particularly for young people. That’s why we are especially excited that the investment will lead to the development of a new Hospitality Foundation Course at the University of Highlands & Islands and the establishment of a Modern Apprenticeship Scheme.”