New Scottish tourist route Heart 200 launch date confirmed
An innovative new touring route designed to reinvigorate tourism in the heart of Scotland is due to officially launch on 1 July at Loch Leven's Larder, Kinross, Perthshire.
The hotly anticipated Heart 200 route, which covers 200 miles around Perth, Stirling, The Trossachs and Highland Perthshire, has been designed to encourage more tourists to a region which since 2011 has seen a 17% drop in visitor numbers.
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, 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.
"In the development of Heart 200 we have taken every effort to consider the concerns of local residents and have amended the route accordingly."
He added: "Whilst a very small handful of businesses have been opposed to the idea, most businesses have been fully supportive of the Heart 200 route and its objective of reinvigorating tourism in this area which has been in steady decline for some time."
Stephen Brannigan, Head of Palace and Events at Scone Palace said: "We are absolutely behind Heart 200 and see it as a fantastic initiative to encourage more visitors to this stunning part of Scotland, particularly as we are just entering the busiest season of the year for tourism and for our business. The route has so much to offer and such diversity that it offers something for everyone. We are looking forward to welcoming Heart 200 participants over the coming months."
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."
Murray Scott, Managing Director of the Angus Hotel, Blairgowrie, said: "The Heart 200 route includes many interesting and varied places which may not have previously featured on the priority list for tourists to the area. We are absolutely delighted that the route will encourage more visitors to consider Blairgowrie as a destination to stay in and explore and therefore increase spend in the town. I'm confident that visitors will not leave disappointed!"
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."