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Tune into Tourism

Tourism is a big talking point in the Highlands - and we’re bringing the conversation to you.

We recognise that the last few months will undoubtedly have been the most difficult experienced to date as a tourism business owner.

We’re concerned for the welfare of each and every business, but as the owners and operators who form the backbone of our Scottish tourism industry, for your mental and physical health too.

See below for the latest content from our Tune into Tourism programme, designed to help you and your business best prepare for the 2021 season and beyond. 

Tune into Tourism

Register your interest for the next series. We’ll email you with series information and joining links once available.

Register here

Re-opening, Re-connection, Rural and Responsible

The latest series of webinars, released through April 2021, are available to watch now. Key areas of discussion include: identifying the opportunities that exist through post COVID-19 changes to market segments and consumer demand; pent-up demand for events as well as family and friends reunions; connecting to ‘place’ and spending time outdoors, and a better understanding of what ‘Responsible Tourism’ means for our businesses and guests.

Each webinar includes a guest panel of industry and business experts ready to share their insights.

Re-opening - watch here
Get to know your new customers, their market segments and behaviours. 
Guests include Simon Calder, Travel Journalist and Irene Roberts of Expedia Inc

Re-connection – watch here
This episode looks at fulfilling the desire for reconnection to place and people - reunions, multi-generational groups and events. Guests include Nick Hall, Founder and CEO Digital Tourism Think Tank and Judith Wilson, Director of EventIt and EventsBase

Responsible – watch here
Visitors have never cared more about what we’re doing to make tourism better across the three pillars of economy, community and the environment.
Guests include Harold Goodwin, Managing Director of the Responsible Tourism Partnership and Paul Easto, Founder of Wilderness Scotland

Rural – watch here
Rural tourism will be extremely popular this year. Visitors are looking to travel to smaller communities to take part in activities that allow them to embrace the local lifestyle as they disconnect from city life. Join Peter Syme, an adventure specialist and strategic advisor from Disrupt Travel, and Joan Bishop, Chair of Community Interest Company Visit Dornoch, as they discuss what this will mean for the 2021 season.

Programme introduction by Julia Sutherland

Road to Recovery

In our last series we brought you the latest in travel news, insights and market indicators affecting tourism across Scotland.

In case you missed it, all of our 'Road to Recovery' podcasts are available below, and there is also plenty of relevant content accessible through our YouTube channel.

Or to register for our next series, simply complete the registration form from the link above. 


If you have a question you'd like us to address, you can email them to and we'll either answer your question within the podcast or follow up with you directly.


Episode 12 - 27 November 2020

In the final episode of ‘Road to Recovery’, Julia Sutherland is joined by Jacqui Williamson (owner Corner on the Square, Beauly), Kelly MacKenzie (marketing manager An Talla by Loch Ness), and Craig Innes (owner Pixel Spirits and Loch Leven Hotel). They talk about everything food and drink related, including the challenges of starting a delivery service in rural areas, understanding what local customers really want from your business and adjusting your marketing strategy accordingly, creating new online experiences, and the new meaning of BYOB!

Episode 11 - 20 November 2020

Visitor attractions are the focus of this episode, the penultimate in our Road to Recovery series! Our host Julia Sutherland is joined by Andrew Johnson (General Manager, Camera Obscura and World of Illusions Edinburgh), Iris Thompson-Burton (Business Manager, The Highlanders' Museum), and Martin Murray (Owner / Distiller, Dunnet Bay Distillery). Together they discuss the specific challenges facing the sector, including how to allow for social distancing in listed buildings, enabling guests to interact with exhibits, targeting a different demographic, and the role data and technology has in all of the above!

Episode 10 - 13 November 2020

Episode 10’s focus is on activity providers. Our usual host Julia Sutherland is joined by Mark Turner (Solway Tours), Tim Allen (Glass Bottomed Boat Gairloch) and Reece McAfee (River To Sea Scotland) who discuss the specific challenges within their sector and share ideas around diversifying their offering, reducing costs, how the market is changing - and why that could be good news for smaller businesses offering bespoke services.

Episode 9 - 6 November 2020

Road to Recovery is back with four more episodes throughout November! This week, we will be focusing on the accommodation sector and our regular host, Julia Sutherland, is joined by Craig Ewan (Operations Director, Kingsmills Goup), Jane Slaughter (Owner, Pinewood Steading) and Jamie Conner (Owner, Secret Highlands). They will be discussing how they’ve had to re-think their entire offering in order to attract a completely different market. By sharing the things that have helped them, as well as discussing what changes will be essential for the survival of their sector, we hope to give you some ideas for your accommodation business as well as reassurance that you’re not alone!

Episode 8 - 31 July 2020

In this final episode of the Road to Recovery series, we are joined by Lesley Judge, Sector Engagement Executive for Tourism at Interface. Lesley shares some of the many developments across the sectors, from the growing use of QR codes in hospitality, to the NASA technology being used in new cleaning techniques. Chief Executive of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, Fiona Campbell, also highlights some of the apps being developed for use by self-catering businesses in response to COVID-19.

Episode 7 - 24 July 2020

Episode 7 is all about marketing strategies. CEO of Visit Inverness Loch Ness, Michael Golding, shares some encouraging news following the launch of the new ‘Scottish Cities’ marketing campaign. Carron Tobin, Development Manager for Argyll and the Isles Tourism co-operative, tells us about their latest strategy, emphasising their impressive local food and drink offering, and how working with a Blogger has provided revelation and inspiration!

Episode 6 - 17 July 2020

As the tourism industry re-opens in Scotland, episode 6 of Tune into Tourism’s Road to Recovery podcast looks at how we can improve the visitor experience, and increase revenue, as you rebuild your business. This week, Julia is joined by ‘Market Manager’ for the Expedia Group, Matthew Quinn, who looks at what accommodation providers can learn from the latest booking trends. We also speak with tourism expert and keynote speaker, Doug Lanksy, who shares his vision to rethink the metrics of success, and ensure the future survival of the industry by taking a 'less is more' approach. 

Episode 5 - 10 July 2020

Tune into Tourism: Road to Recovery returns after a short break! Our host, Julia Sutherland is joined by VisitScotland’s Riddell Graham – Director of Industry and Destination Development, who outlines the ‘GoodToGoScotland’ scheme and how to become self-certified. Travel journalist Simon Calder also returns, to share with us how the industry is reacting in England and further afield.

Episode 4 - 5 June 2020

Julia Sutherland is joined by adventurer, writer and founder of The Yes Tribe, Dave Cornthwaite, who shares his experience around building communities online. Scott Fraser, Senior Trend Analyst at ‘The Food People’, also shares innovative ideas from hospitality businesses around the world. Finally, we look at the top three points from this week’s VisitScotland Trends and Insights paper.

Episode 3 - 29 May 2020

Digital strategy expert Emil Spangenberg and VisitScotland’s Senior Tourism Insight Manager, Chris Greenwood, join host Julia Sutherland to talk about getting your marketing messages right, as we begin the process of restarting tourism in Scotland.


Episode 2 - 22 May 2020

Episode 2 features Nick Hall, founder of Digital Tourism Think Tank and Chris Greenwood, VisitScotland’s Senior Tourism Insight Manager.

They discuss sustainability, the ‘new normal’ and the importance of involving communities to mitigate tourism impacts.


Episode 1 - 15 May 2020

Episode 1 includes insights from Travel Journalist and Broadcaster Simon Calder, and a review of VisitScotland's Weekly Insights Report by Chris Greenwood, Senior Insights Manager at VisitScotland.

We also discuss why digital communications is more crucial than ever right now and how social distancing could work in different business set-ups.

Read more +

Watch our Wellness webinar series.

Previous Tune into Tourism programmes

In 2019 we looked at the growing phenomenon of ‘Wellness Tourism’ – how can your business further appeal to the increasing number of tourists who are seeking to escape the rush of everyday life.

We also looked at the use of Gaelic language in our ‘Speak Scotland’ series - how can tourism businesses harness the power of our native languages to help increase visitor numbers. 

Wellness tourism 

Research suggests that 50% of people in the UK understand the need to do more to look after their health and wellbeing - and a growing number are actively seeking ways to bring wellness into their holiday and travel plans.

With our beautiful scenery, open spaces and a wealth of activities, Scotland is the perfect location to switch off and enjoy a well-deserved break - and a go to location for travellers around the globe. 

Have a look at our playlist of videos from this previous Tune into Tourism series. The valuable insights are delivered by industry experts who’ll help you:

  • Identify wellness travellers, find out where they’re coming from and what they’re looking for.
  • Analyse current wellness products in Scotland, and how businesses can take advantage of current trends.
  • Consider how to adapt your business to help you tap into this growing market.

Click on the video on the left to watch the playlist in full or use the link below to go to YouTube to scroll through the library and select which additions you'd like to watch. 

Go to YouTube

Speak Scotland - harness the power of our native languages

In this fast-moving consumer marketplace, Scotland needs to continually make the most of its distinctive strengths and keep up with growing competition. Many visitors who come to Scotland to learn more about our history and culture - and in 2018, we responded with an exciting initiative. 

Our recent series of webinars, Speak Scotland, has finished but we’re busy turning the videos into a toolkit so don't worry if you missed the live series.

For businesses looking to offer something unique, the traditional languages of Gaelic and Scots are a fantastic resource. Harnessing the power of our native languages enables you to:

  • offer your guests and customers a unique and authentic experience
  • attract new customers and open up international markets
  • stay one step ahead of the competition

Find out more and watch again here

About Tune into Tourism and the Northern Innovation Hub

Tune into Tourism is a support programme delivered through the Northern Innovation Hub, designed to build on and accelerate business innovation.

It is funded through the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal - a joint initiative supported by £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, HIE and University of the Highlands and Islands. This programme also receives financial support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Innovation strategic intervention.


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