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ATCNS update meeting note

21 February 2012


  • Eann Sinclair - Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership
  • Trudy Morris - Caithness Chamber of Commerce
  • Tom Campbell - North Highland Tourism (NHT)
  • Joan Campbell - Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
  • Andy Mackay - Ward Manager North, West & Central Sutherland Highland Council
  • Rachel Skene - Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE)
  • David Sutherland - Ward Manager Thurso, Wick & Landward Caithness Highland Council
  • Elizabeth Gunn - North Highland Tourism (NHT)


  • Andrew Mackay - Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)


Joan Campbell - Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)

  • Institute of Directors Caithness event planned for March- will share info in due course
  • Scottish Tourism Week events programme in Highland have been developed in partnership between FSB, HC and NHT. (Info supplied by email) and per NHT email update.
  • Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards (HITA) and VisitScotland (VS) Thistle Awards - VS are embracing a more local approach, as taken by HITA, to the Thistle Awards 2012 and will have 4 regional events across Scotland leading into the national awards. The timing of HITA will be adjusted slightly and moved to October.
  • VS FSB CCC NHT event 2012 Wick. Noted limited feedback on outcomes from this event thus far. Hope that J Inglis VS will be able to supply more detailed feedback from the sessions in due course ( Action JC)
  • Brief discussion re: VS website developments - agreed need to get update on progress from Scott Armstrong (VS) (Action RS)

Elizabeth Gunn - North Highland Tourism (NHT)

  • Elizabeth introduced herself as a new staff member of NHI/ NHT. A recent Psychology graduate, Elizabeth's primary focus will be project managing NHT projects. Action - Elizabeth to circulate her contact details.

Tom Campbell - North Highland Tourism (NHT)

  • The NHT attractions Map leaflet is soon to be finalised and 40000 printed
  • North Highland Golf pass has sold over 500, with est. additional income generated of £50k. This will be continued and potentially widened. JC suggested liaising with The Sutherland Partnership to work with smaller Sutherland courses, and as there is the SP Tourism group are looking into golf developments. ( Action NHT)
  • NHT and NHP will have a stand at VisitScotland Expo 
  • Discussion about airlines- Eastern Airways, Flybe and HIAL in flight/ airport magazines and need for more content. DS updated on the new HIAL DVD commenting on the high quality. All agreed more could be made of existing visual material to profile the area.
  • RAC Club event London- NHI with support from Scottish Development International London recently held showcase events aimed to raising profile of NH product range, particularly meat product and find new buyers, as well as produce positive press.
  • Wild North Festival- Project Coordinator to be recruited in Feb.
  • Plan to develop portfolio of projects as investment options for high net worth individuals

Andy Mackay - Ward Manager North, West &Central Sutherland Highland Council

  • The Highland Council Community Benefit fund will be announced soon. Find policy here.
  • Community Planning Partnerships in Sutherland are focussed on 3 key areas currently: Land use, New Futures and The Geopark.
  • Ward Discretionary budget currently 49k, and may increase in 2012/13 by 10k.
  • Updated on: Lochinver Mission, markets @ Elphin, Assynt Festival planned for October, Ferrycroft Lairg, Geopark and The Cape Wrath Trail. Highlighted as projects being taken forward by community groups with support and input from HC, AM commented on the positive role of Local Development Officers (and HIE Community Acc management) in supporting/ achieving progress at a local level.

David Sutherland - Ward Manager Thurso, Wick & Landward Caithness Highland Council

  • Harbour Fest 15-17 June 2012 Wick incl support of HC (10K) and use of Assembly rooms
  • Wick Marina upgrading facilities - 90k project includes 7k from HC.
  • UK Pro Surf Tour Thurso 2012 event - incl' Scottish Power Renewable and HC investment
  • HC has committed to providing shuttle buses for Scrabster Cruise ship visitors 2012
  • HC signage and bilingual content currently being investigated, with input from Dr Donna Heddle Director of Nordic Studies UHI Orkney. Hill O' Many Stanes sign now replaced Trudy Morris
  • As part of 'Making the right Connections' a capabilities review is underway focussed on tourism businesses
  • CCC will have a stand at VS Expo and will be holding a Caithness Ceilidh, to give VS Expo visitors a taste of Caithness.
  • Cruise Ship Meet @ Scrabster - discussion about how to cater for this market and visitors, accepting there are specific needs/ challenges and opportunities. CCC will continue to work, through Town Officers, with retailers.
  • Town Officers also progressing activity around the Harbour Fest in Wick, and continuing with 'Spend it Caithness' which has proving to be a popular initiative.
  • CCC are running a Food and Drink Event in the Mackay's Hotel on 2nd February - details at

Rachel Skene - Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE)

  • Updated all on the plans to procure a 2 year Development contract to progress priorities as per the aims and objectives of ATCNS. Contract priorities will reflect the opportunities for growth and destination development, as identified through work in 20120/2011 with the sector. More details of contract will be provided once finalised. Aim is to have contract in place April 2012.
  • Presented ATCNS Framework document which sets out the background and aims of ATCNS and process to manage partnership working and ongoing communication.

The following has been agreed: 

  • Calendar quarterly meetings of the ATCNS group, with addition of VS (Action RS).
  • ATCNS information and updates, including meeting notes, will be posted on the HIE ATCNS webpage and also signposted via CCC, CNSRP websites and updates.
  • An annual joint event in the area should be discussed, and will be an agenda item at next meeting, building on from 2011 VS. FSB/ NHT event.

AOB - none

Date of next meeting: tbc. 


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