Rising demand sees Loch Ness cruise company double winter tours
Leading cruise tour operator Loch Ness by Jacobite has doubled its winter tour offering in response to rising demand for off-season excursions.
With winter bookings increasing by 79% in the three years between 2015 and 2018 (October-March), visitors are now able to choose between six different tours departing from both Dochgarroch Lock and the Clansman Hotel, with seven daily sailings.
The additional three tours have allowed Loch Ness by Jacobite to add seven new permanent members of staff to the team, providing year-round employment for local people and bringing the company’s headcount to 80.
Managing director Freda Newton MBE said: “We’ve seen visitor numbers consistently grow year on year across the shoulder season months, suggesting that the Highlands is becoming a popular destination year-round thanks to the diverse range of activities that are available here.
“Following the launch of our newest vessel, the Jacobite Maverick, as well as the opening of An Talla, our retail destination and café at Dochgarroch, we’re able to provide visitors from near and far the opportunity to have an enjoyable day out at Loch Ness all year round.
“The winter months are already looking busy at the loch, and we’re hoping that by providing visitors with more tour options that the fantastic growth we’ve seen will continue.”
The additional sailings form part of the region’s wider response to growing visitor numbers to Scotland, with overseas visitor numbers rising by 27 per cent last year. Figures from the Annual Visitor Trends Report revealed that Loch Ness by Jacobite had nine per cent growth from 2017 to 2018 – a figure Freda Newton expects to grow this year.
For more information on winter timetables, visit www.jacobite.co.uk05/09/2019