The Scottish National Investment Bank is providing £4.45million in funding to Highland Coast Hotels to support the upgrade of four properties, saying it will “help support more sustainable, community-led hospitality around North Coast 500 Scenic Route”.
The taxpayer-funded SNIB pointed to the potential of loan financing to enable the creation of dozens of jobs and support apprenticeships, as well as to improve the availability of accommodation options for tourists on the road. The funding will support upgrades to the Royal Golf Hotel in Dornoch, the Royal Marine Hotel in Brora, the Newton Lodge in Unapool and the Kylesku Hotel, all located on the North Coast 500, SNIB noted. He added that the loan would be repaid from revenue generated by the hotels.
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SNIB said the investment would ‘support tourism and employment opportunities in a remote area of northern Scotland, where tourism is crucial to the local economy and vital to supporting communities and businesses’.
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Noting that the loan would support investment in the four hotels, SNIB said the funding would help create full-time positions within Highland Coast Hotels and up to 40 full-time equivalent jobs “within the local area through investments in the supply chain“.
SNIB said: “The investment aligns with the Bank’s mission to invest in places and regeneration to reduce inequalities and improve opportunities and outcomes for people and communities.”
Eilidh Mactaggart, Chief Executive of SNIB, said: “Our investment will support vital industry for the Highlands while ensuring quality employment, education and training opportunities in rural communities. The investment will also benefit local businesses through Highland Coast Hotels’ commitment to sourcing food, beverages and other supplies locally, and partnering with other local businesses that can offer activities and experiences. tourism to its customers.
She added: “In addition to direct and indirect job creation, the investment will also ensure that Highland Coast Hotels can continue to provide education and training opportunities to the hospitality sector through the University of [the] Highlands & Islands and springboard collaborations, and a minimum of 10 apprenticeships over the next three years.
David Whiteford, Chairman of Highland Coast Hotels, highlighted the region’s employment challenges and his hopes the funding would help address them.
He said, “One of the biggest challenges facing remote areas like this is the lack of job opportunities, especially for young people. This is why we are particularly delighted that the investment will lead to the development of a new foundation course in hospitality at the University of [the] Highlands & Islands and the establishment of a modern apprenticeship programme. We also hope to receive additional funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.