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Global honour for Scotland’s Highlands and Islands

Press Release   •   Oct 23, 2018 07:46 BST

Scotland’s Highlands and Islands* have earned their place as one of the top must-see destinations in the world in 2019.

Travel authority, Lonely Planet, has today (23 October) revealed that the regions have been listed amongst its top 10 ‘Best in Travel’ destinations for 2019 – the only Scottish destinations to be included.

Described in the new guide as “one of the wildest, least inhabited and most scenic parts of Europe,” Scotland’s Highlands and Islands have, for decades, attracted visitors from around the world, who are drawn to their unparalleled scenery, unique culture and wildlife; a wide variety of outdoor pursuits and extreme sports, including surfing, diving and skiing; a range of attractions, welcoming locals and delicious local food and drink.

The guide also praises the regions’ “innovative and fast-developing accommodation sector, from purpose-built campervan parking spots to designer cottages modelled on ancient buildings.”

The Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2019 is a highly-anticipated annual collection of the best travel destinations, trends, journeys and experiences to have in the year ahead and which reveals the top 10 regions, countries, cities and best value places to visit in 2019.

The four pages in the guide dedicated to Scotland’s Highlands and Islands, gives special mention to the “hugely successful” North Coast 500 driving route, as well as the North East 250 and the Snow Roads.

Amongst the ‘unmissable experiences’ included in the guide are climbing a mountain, with the iconic peak of Suilven referenced; savouring seafood at one of the Highlands and islands many fine restaurants and joining a nature watching trip to discover the wealth of wildlife that abounds.

In response to the addition of Scotland’s Highlands and Islands in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel, Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “It’s fantastic to see the Highlands and Islands receive recognition for its breath-taking scenery, history and heritage.

“From its wide range of distilleries and tourist attractions, to its beautiful islands and iconic landmarks, I am sure the Lonely Planet’s support for the Highlands and Islands will help to inspire and captivate the imaginations of new visitors.”

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said: “I am thrilled, though not entirely surprised, to discover that Scotland’s Highlands and Islands have appeared in this prestigious list.

“This stunning part of Scotland punches well above its weight on the world stage, as a thriving holiday destination for people from both across the globe and the UK, as well as a popular location for film production companies looking for a beautiful backdrop for their next blockbuster.

“With accolades like this one to their name, Scotland’s Highlands and Islands will be in the global spotlight once again. However, it is imperative that we don’t become complacent, as we need to continue to provide world-class experiences, events and attractions to keep up with the ever-changing visitor demands.

The Highland Council’s Leader, Margaret Davidson, said: “The Scottish Highlands and Islands are a wonderful part of the world. I have always considered it one of the best places to visit not just for our fabulous scenery but also for the range of activities available, our distinct culture and of course the warm welcome for which the Highlands are famous.

“Being chosen as one of Lonely Planet’s top regions in their forthcoming prestigious global campaign ‘Best in Travel 2019’ is a splendid accolade. The fact that this endorsement comes from such a globally-recognised and trusted travel publisher as Lonely Planet will undoubtedly boost the area’s profile on a global stage and encourage more visitors to come and experience a true Highland welcome.”

A Comhairle nan Eilean Siar spokesperson, said: “Comhairle nan Eilean Siar welcomes this recognition of the Outer Hebrides and the Highlands of Scotland in the top ten global destinations.

“It is particularly satisfying and well-deserved to see the Hebridean Way - a Comhairle-led EU funded project - featuring so highly. The Outer Hebrides is a must-visit destination and the local industry works hard to ensure an excellent visitor experience - all sectors should rightly be proud to have received this accolade.”

For more information visit www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel, and for further information about the Highlands and Islands, visit www.visitscotland.com

For information on how the tourism industry across the Highlands & islands can make the most of the opportunity, a toolkit has been developed here: https://www.visitscotland.org/supporting-your-business/marketing-toolkits/lonely-planet


*Lonely Planet defines the Highlands in the book as the area above the Highland Boundary Fault - the topographical feature that divides the Lowlands and the Highlands and which goes diagonally from Helensburgh in the west to just above Stonehaven in the east coast. The ‘Islands’ in this case refers to the Outer Hebrides.

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2018 Year of Young People

  • The Year of Young People (YoYP 2018) will inspire Scotland through its young people aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally
  • Central to YoYP 2018 will be a celebratory events programme that puts young people at the heart of its development and delivery, creating new and valuable experiences for young Scots and the wider public, with links to the inaugural 2018 European Championships.
  • Over 200 young people throughout Scotland are currently being recruited to become YoYP 2018 Ambassadors. Ambassadors will ensure that people and organisations in their communities know about what’s happening and will lead on projects and activities to create events and opportunities to celebrate young people.
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  • Participation – looking at how young people can influence public services and decisions which affect their lives
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  • Further information on what’s happening and how people can get involved can be found on the new website www.yoyp2018.scot or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.