A hotel chain with properties along the North Coast 500 tourist route has received a £4.45m publicly backed loan to boost jobs and training for the local area.
Highland Coast Hotels has secured the funding as a loan from the Scottish National Investment Bank, and it will be repaid by income generated by the hotels.
The funding will be used to upgrade four Highland Coast Hotels along the route and will create up to 40 full-time jobs through investment in the local supply chain.
Upgrades will be made to the Royal Golf Hotel in Dornoch, the Royal Marine Hotel in Brora, Newton Lodge in Unapool and the Kylesku Hotel in Kylesku.
The funding will also be put towards plans to develop a new hospitality foundation course at the University of Highlands & Islands and the establishment of a Modern Apprenticeship Scheme.
David Whiteford, chairman of Highland Coast Hotels, said: “This investment from the Scottish National Investment Bank is not only significant for our highly-talented teams within Highland Coast Hotels, but also the much-valued communities in which we operate.
“We will continue to develop hotels that communities can frequent and be proud of, whilst our aim is to source all produce from as close-by as we possibly can, bringing significant benefits to local supply chains.
“We are already engaging with a number of local artists, artisans, ‘visitor experience’ providers and food producers to build the authenticity of guest experiences, grow local businesses and stimulate the creation of ‘start-ups’.
“We’ve already established Community Liaison Committees for each hotel which will ensure local people and businesses are involved in key decisions that affect their way of life on the North Coast 500.”