A DECISION to relocate the headquarters of North Coast 500 from Wick to Inverness will not end the Caithness connection for the world famous road route.
North Coast 500 Ltd has now separated from development body North Highland Initiative (NHI) with the latter organisation’s chief executive Tom Campbell also leaving to take on a full time role with North Coast 500.
However, Mr Campbell revealed that in effect he had already been working with NC500 full time and said the changes had been brought in to ensure that the NC500 maintained its profile as one of the most popular tourist routes in the world.
He said: “North Coast 500 was created by the North Highland Initiative, but it was my feeling that it needed the office in Inverness, which is the start and finish of the route,” he said.
The office at Old Edinburgh Road, close to Inverness Castle, will provide a base for NC500’s newly appointed general manager and other staff, but will not involve the relocation of any staff from Wick.
“We already have our head of brand and communications, Gaelle Delagrave, who is from Inverness and we have a young graduate we took on last year who lives in Muir of Ord, so there is a core group in both places,” Mr Campbell said.
“The Wick office is actually the NHI office and they are doing a fantastic job there and it may be that we have it as a split site.”
With NC500 now well established as a globally recognised brand, Mr Campbell and his team will concentrate on finding ways of monetising that success to support the route’s future.
“We have done something that we don’t think has been done anywhere else – certainly not in Scotland and probably not anywhere in the UK – in that North Coast 500 Litd will not have any core public funding,” he said.
“This is a huge move away from the usual tourism model, but that model is defunct because the public purse is increasingly tight.”
NC500 has fulfilled expectations with the 500-journey around the north Highlands achieving an estimated global audience reach of over 1.5 billion.