The Scottish National Investment Bank has invested £4.45 million in Highland Coast Hotels to help support more sustainable, community-led hospitality around the North Coast 500 tourist route.
The investment will also be used to upgrade four hotels along the route, helping to create full-time jobs within the company and up to 40 full-time equivalent jobs in the local area through investments in the supply chain.
In line with the bank’s net zero mission, the investment should also embed sustainability into every hotel and support Highland Coast Hotels’ goal of achieving carbon neutrality.
The loan supports the modernization of the Royal Golf Hotel in Dornoch, the Royal Marine Hotel in Brora, the Newton Lodge in Unapool and the Kylesku Hotel in Kylesku. It will be reimbursed by the income generated by the hotels.
Eilidh Mactaggart, Chief Executive of the Scottish National Investment Bank, 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, drink and other supplies locally, and partnering with other local businesses who can offer activities and experiences. tourists to their customers.”
In addition to direct and indirect jobs, the investment is also expected to ensure that Highland Coast Hotels can continue to provide education and training opportunities for the hospitality industry 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, 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 and Islands and the establishment of a modern apprenticeship programme.
“We are also hoping to secure additional funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise to help with development plans.
“This investment is undoubtedly helping to put the North Coast 500 community firmly on the path to a more sustainable future.”
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