Campaign launched to attract kindred spirits to Wester Ross

A Wester Ross visitor group has launched a campaign to attract kindred spirits to the area, away from the high-speed selfie brand of tourism.

Entitled Are you a West Coaster?, the campaign is designed to draw visitors who have an affinity with Wester Ross and the people that live there.

Visit Wester Ross, a voluntary visitor association, hopes the campaign will encourage a slower, more sustainable form of tourism where people will take time to appreciate the sights and way of life in the area.

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Launched on Friday, it comprises a series of short videos featuring west coasters who run businesses in Wester Ross which is also designated a Biosphere by UNESCO.

Douglas Gibson, co-ordinator at Visit Wester Ross, said: “People living in Wester Ross share the same mindset. We are passionate about where we live, we treat our stunning natural environment and each other with respect and we are proud to welcome visitors from all over the world and share our home.

“But a key difference is that we take ‘Highland time’ – this landscape and our culture has developed over a long period of time and is not something that needs to be rushed.

“We think there are fellow west coasters all over the UK and indeed the world. People who want something different, people who want an authentic experience in a place where people, place and land are inextricably linked, people who want to stay and spend quality time, not just pass through for a selfie. So, we are asking people to identify as a west coaster and come and spend some quality, Highland time with us.”

Over the course of the next six weeks, a series of films will be released featuring west coasters in their places of work, talking about what it’s like to live in Wester Ross and the impression the area makes on visitors.

Viewers will be introduced to the mountaineer west coaster, the nature west coaster, the water west coaster, the cultural west coaster and the foodie west coaster, each giving their perspective.

Among those featuring in the first film are Joanna Macpherson of Attadale Gardens, Ben Mueller of McKenzie Mountaineering, Conon Brown of Ewe Canoe and Lucy Kerr of Kishorn Seafood Bar.

The campaign is the latest development in the tourism strategy for Wester Ross, supported by national efforts spearheaded by VisitScotland to develop sustainable tourism.

Wester Ross has been included in the world’s first UNESCO trail which was launched by VisitScotland last year.

Natasha Hutchison, general manager of the Wester Ross UNESCO Biosphere, said: “UNESCO Biospheres are often located in breathtaking landscapes and Wester Ross is no exception. This makes them wonderful places to visit.

“But living in a UNESCO Biosphere is about actively working towards a sustainable future and finding that delicate balance between development and conservation to ensure the wellbeing of our people and place for generations to come.

“We hope that this campaign strikes a chord with people and encourages visitors who are as passionate about Wester Ross as we are.”

The campaign videos will be released every Friday by Visit Wester Ross on its social media platforms.

To view the first film, click here.

More information about Visit Wester Ross can be found by clicking here.

Article by Jackie MacKenzie.