The Highlands Gift Card can be spent with over 90 businesses in the Highlands, like tour firm Airts & Pairts in Nairn, which is owned by Elle and Dan:
“We set up Airts and Pairts after Dan completed his Scottish Tourism course. I left my job at the Red Cross shop to join Dan in the business. My focus is the day tours and Dan leads the tours of the wider Highlands area. As part of our tours, we think it is so important to bring people to the little shops and businesses in Nairn and the Highlands, telling the stories of the people that run them.
“The Highlands Gift Card is such a brilliant thing. It gives local people an opportunity to showcase what they offer, and for people to realise what we have here in the area. Yes, Amazon is available, but you can get everything you need on the high street. The way we see it is: do you want to buy from an anonymous online retailer, or do you want to buy local, where you get a huge smile with your purchase?
“For us, the Highlands Gift Card is about collaboration, and sharing the love and warmth of the community that you get when you shop local. If you don’t know what to get someone as a gift, or you’re buying for someone that has everything, you give them a Scotland Loves Local Gift Card and they have a huge choice.
“People can use their Highlands Gift Card for a holiday in Nairn, have a great time at the beach, go on a tour of the Highlands, eat at local cafés and restaurants and visit our very special little shops. Nairn makes a great hub to explore what is in and around Nairn, like its fairy-tale castles, gardens and battlefields. Equally, people can use the card to become a home-town tourist. It’s often the case that we’ve been to lots of places around the world, but never really discovered our own area. In the lockdown, we started bookable walking tours of Nairn for locals. Customers said to us that they’d walked by a landmark hundreds of times, but for the first time, they learnt the history of it.
“The Highlands Gift Card is like the golden ticket to the Highlands and it supports the whole idea of the circular economy. We had a similar scheme in Switzerland where we’re from originally and because it’s not cash, it makes you think about where you can spend it and gives you a push to discover local businesses.
“It’s also an amazing opportunity for businesses to be a part of the Highlands Gift Card, giving them a route to market, access to new customers and a new way to promote themselves, all free. When people spend a Highlands Gift Card with us, they can take one of our Scotland’s Larder foodie tours or a whisky tour exploring the 125+ distilleries in Speyside and the Highlands. Then there are our Outlander and Harry Potter themed tours, and bespoke tours that are tailor made and offer anything from seafood safaris to island hopping and kilt making. Our new Land Rover is opening up the world of driver guided adventures too.
“If we don’t support local, we won’t have a beautiful high street anymore, and we’ll lose so much knowledge as well as those local, hand-crafted, unique items. The pandemic was very unkind to our businesses but with the new Highlands Gift Card, our community spirit can really grow.”