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NEW FLIGHTS COULD TEE UP INFLUX OF GOLFING VISITORS

New flights connecting Inverness to Norway this week could further increase visits from Scandinavian golfers who are coming to the Highlands in record numbers.

The flights to Bergen start on Thursday (10 May) and the new service comes as a further boost to Highland Golf Links (HGL) which promotes ‘Play and Stay’ packages to enhance business during the off-peak ‘shoulder’ months of April, October and November.

An unprecedented number of golfers took advantage of the packages last year, generating in excess of £500,000 in income for the area.

Golfers from Scandinavia helped boost the figure, with their numbers in 2017 up by 45 per cent on 2016. Already figures for this year are equal to 85 per cent of last year’s total.

Among the growing markets is Norway (up 50 per cent on 2016), while there are also increases from Denmark (up 241 per cent) and Finland (+93 per cent).

HGL includes three of Scotland’s most renowned links courses – Castle Stuart Golf Links, Royal Dornoch Golf Club and The Nairn Golf Club – as well as leading hotels, the Kingsmills Hotel and Culloden House in Inverness.

HGL chairman Fraser Cromarty, CEO at The Nairn Golf Club, said: “We have seen a significant rise in recent years of overseas visitors taking advantage of our ‘Play and Stay’ packages due to improved air links to the Highlands and we hope this further addition to the network will mean even more golfers wanting to visit the area.

“The number of Scandinavian visitors coming to our courses and hotels has shown a marked increase and we hope the new Bergen flights will further encourage them to play and stay in the region.

“We know that a lot of Scandinavians are keen links golfers who also appreciate the connection between golf and whisky.”

Kay Ryan, Commercial Director at Loganair, said: “The Scottish Highlands boast some of the world’s greatest golf courses. Set against stunning backdrops, and now only an 85-minute flight away, these must-play venues should be on the bucket-list for anyone in Bergen with a passion for golf.”

‘Play and Stay’ figures rose in 2017 for the sixth successive year. It meant more than 3,000 rounds were played in the off-season months. Sales for this year are already following a similar trend.

In recent years, air services to and from Inverness have improved with enhanced links to Heathrow and Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, as well as those to Luton and Gatwick.