Back in May of this year British Airways returned to the capital of the Scotland Highlands with a daily service re-connecting Inverness to the UK’s hub airport. Just four months in, the route has proven an instant boost for the local economy and here we highlight the positive impact it has had for one thriving business in-particular.
Loch Ness by Jacobite
As the longest running cruise company on Loch Ness, Loch Ness by Jacobite have been giving UK and international visitors the chance to catch a glimpse of the elusive Nessie for over 40 years.
The current Managing Director and 2015 Highland Business Leader of the Year, Freda Newton, took the helm in 2002 after realising the potential for cruise-driven tourist growth on a trip to Egypt.
Freda’s main priorities were to enhance the passenger experience from the initial boat that didn’t have heating or chilled storage to the vessels that are now equipped with heating, fridges, coffee machines and double glazing.
To capitalise on this growth and sustain the company against seasonal challenges, Freda is in no doubt that Jacobite needs to attract the emerging economies of Asia whilst making it easier for long haul travelers to reach the highlands.
Tour numbers increase by 12% since May
Since the direct link between Inverness and the UK’s only hub airport, Loch Ness by Jacobite visitor numbers have increased by 12% – with 7% coming from the new markets of Asia and regular long haul travelers from North America.
Loch Ness by Jacobite boost their profile internationally to new and existing markets by attending trade shows around the world and partnering with foreign travel agencies. Therefore, it is vital that these international visitors can conveniently reach Inverness – via a direct flight – to enjoy a cruise as well as the hospitality, culture and nature of the surrounding Highlands. While they are doing all of this, they are supporting the Scottish economy at the same time.
“A link between Heathrow and Inverness has been the boost that the Highlands and Islands needed to build on Scotland’s natural strengths and capitalise on the international appeal that our region holds.
It is from a direct link to a Hub airport – where passengers can easily transfer from around the world – that this 12% jump in visitors has occurred to benefit the Scottish regions and economy and I hope it will encourage more links to Scotland from an expanded Heathrow in the future.” – Freda Newton, Loch Ness by Jacobite Managing Director
Since British Airways resumed services between Heathrow and Inverness in May the average load factor, or percentage of seats being filled on each aircraft has been in excess of 85%. For a new service finding it’s feet this is extremely encouraging and shows the strong demand from both the leisure and business markets.