HIGHLAND businesses have recently praised the NC500 for the support it brought during the pandemic.
The new survey revealed that tourism businesses claim to feel supported by the organisation during the pandemic.
A large proportion of firms who took part in the survey are said to also believe that the NC500 has a positive benefit on the wider north Highlands region.
Over 53 per cent of businesses surveyed believe that good marketing and access to information will help the region recover from the pandemic.
The organisation of the route say when it is safe they are planning to reach out to a global audience to promote “responsible and sustainable tourism in the North Highlands.
Craig Mills, Head of Operations at North Coast 500 Ltd, said: “Clear communication and consistent business support is vitally important during a crisis like the global coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re continuing to work hard with our partners to help deliver a balance between public safety and economic recovery.
“It’s reassuring to learn from our latest business survey that an overwhelming majority of our members continue to feel supported by us and see the value of NC500 to the wider North Highlands region.
“We’ve made it our top priority during the pandemic to actively engage with our business members, local community groups and other key stakeholders to share key information and address any concerns surrounding public health and safety.
“It’s clear that the majority of our members want to see a cautious re-opening of North Highland tourism in 2021 and are looking forward to welcoming back visitors from across Scotland and the rest of the UK.
“A positive marketing campaign and a consistent welcoming message are also seen to be vital to regaining consumer confidence.
VisitScotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Highland Council, Police Scotland and NC500 business members are working together to plan the road to recovery for North Highland tourism in 2021 and beyond.
The organisations are looking into the practical measures and solutions needed to help deliver a balance between public safety and economic recovery in the North Highlands, including further investment in infrastructure.
Joanna Macpherson from Attadale Gardens in Wester Ross, said:“We really appreciate the efforts made by the North Coast 500 to support us throughout this period of uncertainty, which has been reassuring and gives us confidence for the future.
“The North Coast 500 has been so supportive about encouraging improvements to local infrastructure that will benefit both locals and visitors.”