An innovative new touring route designed to reinvigorate tourism in the heart of Scotland was launched today (1 July) at Loch Leven’s Larder, Kinross, Perthshire.
The Heart 200 route, which covers 200 miles around Perth, Stirling, The Trossachs and Highland Perthshire, is designed to encourage more tourists to a region which since 2011 has seen a 17% drop in domestic visitor numbers.
The new Heart 200 website, which acts as an online tourist guide for those wishing to visit the area, is now live at: www.heart200.scot. Visitors can use it as a tool to plan their holidays in this beautiful part of Scotland.
Heart 200 is a spectacular circular route on existing public roads, with sub-routes suitable for walkers, cyclists and bikers as well as motorists. A vast array of visitor attractions and activities can be found in the vicinity of the 200-mile route, which uniquely links Scotland’s two national parks, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs and The Cairngorms.
The route, which is a broad 30-mile corridor, encourages visitors to take a wide range of different sub-tours as part of the experience, enabling them to access and enjoy a huge array of visitor attractions, places to visit, restaurants and hotels in the vicinity.
Robert Cairns, Managing Director of Heart 200 and owner of the Fortingall Hotel near Aberfeldy, said: “With visitor numbers declining year on year in this region for several years now, Heart 200 has been designed to encourage tourism back into the heart of Scotland. We aim to offer visitors a unique holiday experience; a leisurely journey through the stunning heart of Scotland, giving visitors the option of staying in the area for as long as possible.
He added: “We are delighted to have officially launched our website, designed to be a go-to resource for those who are looking to holiday within the vicinity of Heart 200. The website is full of ideas for planning a holiday, providing suggested itineraries and tours and highlighting the numerous attractions and places to stay, eat and spend time.”
Caroline Warburton, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, said: “Spanning Perthshire, Stirling and Scotland’s two National Parks, the Heart 200 route is an exciting initiative which takes in some of the country’s best assets. New ideas like this are an excellent example of innovation within Scotland’s tourism industry to keep up with ever-changing consumer demands and ensure visitors continue to have memorable experiences.
“These visitors represent a major benefit to areas across Scotland. Tourism is more than a holiday experience, it is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community, generating income, jobs and social change.”
Donald Riddle, Director of Highland Safaris in Aberfeldy, commented: “We wholeheartedly support Heart 200 and see it as a fantastic initiative that can only help to grow the visitor experience. It brings a focus to this stunning part of Scotland. Perthshire, Stirlingshire and The Trossachs have so much to offer and tourism is key to all our communities; it brings employment, income and general vibrancy and there is no doubt that there will be great benefits throughout the Heart 200 route.”
Thomas Moffat, Director of Loch Leven Brewery in Kinross, said: “Heart 200 is a fantastic new initiative and a much-needed addition to tourism in Kinross. Loch Leven Brewery, situated opposite The Green Hotel in Kinross, already welcomes many tourists visiting the area. We have seen a significant uptake in our ‘Great Scots’ tourist range of beers and ales. The addition of Heart 200 allows a new and exciting vehicle to reach even more visitors, and we are excited about being part of this fantastic new initiative.”
Stephen Leckie, CEO of the Crieff Hydro family of hotels, said: “An initiative which encourages more visitors to Perthshire, Stirlingshire, The Trossachs and Highland Perthshire can only be a good thing, particularly at the start of the busiest season of the year for tourism. We’re delighted that Heart 200 passes through Crieff. It will ultimately bring commercial benefits not only to the hotel, but with increased visitor numbers, to all the other Crieff based tourism businesses as well.”
Leader of Perth and Kinross Council, Murray Lyle, stated: “Perth and Kinross Council is delighted to support the creation of Heart 200, a new and exciting initiative which will bring a welcome and significant increase in tourist numbers and a great boost to the local economy.”