Tourism group launches campaign to find kindred spirits.
Visit Wester Ross, a voluntary tourism association based in Wester Ross in the Scottish Highlands, has launched a campaign designed to attract visitors who have an affinity with Wester Ross and the people that live there. Launched in January, Are you a West Coaster? comprises a series of films featuring West Coasters who run businesses in Wester Ross and are looking to develop sustainable tourism to the area, which is also designated a Biosphere by UNESCO. Douglas Gibson, Co-ordinator at Visit Wester Ross, explains what it means to be a West Coaster: “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.”
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 and asking the question: Are you a West Coaster? This campaign is the latest development in the tourism strategy for Wester Ross, supported by national efforts spearheaded by VisitScotland to develop sustainable tourism. Natasha Hutchison, General Manager of the Wester Ross UNESCO Biosphere, is proud that Wester Ross has been included in the world’s first UNESCO trail which was launched by VisitScotland last year.
Natasha highlights the significance of the UNESCO Biosphere designation for Wester Ross: “UNESCO Biospheres are often located in breath-taking 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.”
Wester Ross was recognised as a Biosphere Reserve in 2016 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for the fantastic array of landscapes, wildlife and cultural heritage that the region offers. Biospheres house dynamic local partnerships, rooted in communities that work collaboratively with Biosphere teams in a global network, to explore how – through education, science, culture, communication and information – we can learn to live in harmony with our environment.
More information about Visit Wester Ross can be found at: www.visitwester-ross.com