The popularity of the Aviemore area as a tourist destination has been strengthened following the addition of two new facilities, both supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
The Landmark Forest Adventure Park at Carrbridge is unveiling a Timber Train roller coaster ride to complement the wide range of family activities the centre currently offers.
The £800k facility will comprise 230 metres of track and provide action-packed rides for up to 24 people at a time.
The park attracts around 140,000 visitors every year chiefly from an area of 1.5 to 2 hours drive from Carrbridge. It has been particularly successful in drawing visitors back for repeat visits through its policy of regularly reinvesting in new attractions and this, in turn, is expanding its customer base to include visitors from as far afield as Central Scotland.
Rhona Fraser, HIE's head of business growth with the Inner Moray Firth team said: "Tourism is considered one of Scotland's key industries. Landmark provides a very popular day out for visitors from a wide catchment area, significantly adding to their overall holiday experience. Having such a successful facility contributes to the attraction of the whole area and for this reason, HIE's investment has potential to benefit not only Landmark's offering, but to boost profile of the operators in the wider area."
The new ride promises to provide a combination of exhilaration and open-air fun which characterises many of Landmark's attractions. Landmark's Manager, Danny Fullerton, explained: "We work to ensure that every year or so there is something new to experience at Landmark providing good motivation for people to return here, and the wider area, time and time again."
HIE has approved £158k grant funding towards the new Landmark facility and has also invested in TreeZone, a new aerial rope course at Rothiemurchus which is proving a popular attraction for adults and children visiting the Aviemore area.
The agency has provided £30,000 funding assistance towards the £188,000 project undertaken by a subsidiary of outdoor activity business Boots n Paddles.
Vicky Grant, development manager with HIE's Inner Moray Firth team said: "This aerial rope course supports the popularity of other businesses in the area and, as one of only three such facilities of its scale in Scotland, is a key attraction in its own right. TreeZone offers an opportunity to capitalise on an area's existing success and provides good value for HIE's investment."
Mike Dunthorne of Boots n Paddles said the course was already proving popular with corporate clients as well as tourists. "It is not designed to be a 'soft' tourist pursuit such as 'crazy golf', it's a real challenge which is a good match for other pursuits available in the area. Corporate clients like the fact that we can design use of the course to suit their capability and time limits and, because we have different courses for adults and children, it's also very popular with families on holiday here."
Alan Rankin, chief executive of Cairngorm Business Partnership reinforced the importance of strengthening the range of activities in the area. "The Aviemore area has a global pull as an international tourist destination but it's vital that our operators keep investing in new facilities so that we retain our place as one of the most exciting places to choose for a UK holiday."