As part of the overall objective of the organisaton, NHI operates across three key industries in the North Highlands; tourism, food and drink and built environment. Specifically, the NHI Tourism Project works with tourism businesses, local tourism groups and key stakeholders in the North Highlands to grow the value of tourism in the region through destination development and targeted marketing. Some of this work can be viewed from the northhighlandsscotland.com website. Previous work that NHI has undertaken in this field includes the creation and development of the Wild North Festival (now in its third year) and the Wildflower Europe project. The key Tourism project which NHI is currently working on is called “The North Coast 500”. This is a northern coastal route way designed to attract visitors to the Northern Highlands. The route will link spectacular natural heritage and scenery and will celebrate the local Food and Drink, Accommodation, Retail/Arts/Crafts and Attractions. The route runs from Inverness, along the west coast, via the rugged north coast.
The food and drink industry is arguably the sector in which NHI’s most successful ventures to date have been most prominent, following on the creation of North Highland Products Ltd (NHP), the home of the Mey Selections brand. Mey Selections works closely with farmers, local businesses and suppliers to provide a range of high quality, locally sourced and sustainable produce through added value branding. Fostering close relationships with farmers and suppliers is fundamental to the brand in order to ensure full traceability and quality livestock and this attention to quality has resulted in the creation of over £1.4m additional income for local farmers through paying premiums for eligible livestock. This work allows NHP to develop routes to market for other producers in the Highlands area contributing to the overall objective of the organisation. Other work completed in this industry include the creation of a North Highland Larder, the local food and drink publication, and sponsorship of key industry events, including the Royal Highland Show and Young Highland Chef of the Year.
The third industry in which NHI operates across the North Highlands is built environment. A crucial element to NHI’s work in developing economic growth in the Highlands, with the aim to work closely with the built environment sector to breathe new life in to the area’s valuable built heritage. At present, work is being completed alongside other key stakeholders in the area, to repair and develop Huna Mill, near John O’Groats, which has the potential to bring significant investment to the area.
In addition to our core activities and objectives, NHI also supports a local charity each year through fundraising and donation of time and resources. Most recently, NHI supported the local charity, Befriending Caithness and managed to raise over £5,000 in total for this charity in addition to providing marketing and administration support from the team.