Scotland’s busiest cruise port has been welcomed aboard as a major sponsor of the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.
The Port of Cromarty Firth attracted 91 cruise liners last year, which brought over 151,000 visitors into Invergordon and generated more than £15 million for the area’s economy.
Earlier this year it announced a £23 million project including an extension to Berth 5 at the Invergordon Service Base to allow the port to accommodate the largest cruise ships that are currently being built.
It will mean that ships carrying up to 6,000 passengers are able to dock, bringing a further economic injection to the Highlands.
The port has now become a silver sponsor of HITA, which celebrate and reward the leading tourism businesses and individuals in the region. It will support the Best Heritage Tourism Experience Award category.
HITA chairman Craig Ewan said: “The Port of Cromarty Firth has been at the forefront of efforts to develop the cruise industry which is now one of the biggest and fastest growing sectors in tourism.
“So many tourism and hospitality operators benefit from the thousands of cruise passengers who come here every year to enjoy our scenery and attractions.
“We are delighted the port has joined us in helping to identify and honour our best tourism ambassadors. Its help will allow us to develop the awards and promote the industry which is so vital to the Highlands and Islands.”
Last year, Captain Iain Dunderdale, former cruise manager for the Port of Cromarty Firth, who was instrumental in developing the cruise industry, was named Highland Ambassador 2017 at the tourism awards.
Allison McGuire, the new Cruise Manager at Port of Cromarty Firth, said “We are delighted to be sponsoring HITA and recognising the people and organisations who work tirelessly to ensure visitors enjoy their time in the Highlands.
“These experiences keep people coming back year after year; creating jobs and opportunities for local people.”
HITA, which is being held in association with SSE for a sixth successive year, is regarded as one of the premier industry hospitality awards programmes in Scotland. It celebrates and honours the best places to stay, eat and drink and enjoy the area’s history and culture.