‘Monster Marketing’ – Cashing in on Loch Ness
The Loch Ness Monster has been luring people to the Scottish Highlands for almost 90 years, bringing around a million visitors and an economy for the locals worth tens of millions of pounds every year. Nessie has even made it to number three on Wanderlust’s top 18 Mysteries to Solve in 2014, beaten only by the Moai of Easter Island and rock art in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert.
But for the first time since the 1930s, there has been an eighteen-month gap in sightings of the creature – regardless of the claims that she has been spotted in Apple Maps satellite images that sceptics are trying to debunk as the wake of the Loch’s tourist boat, Jacobite Queen.
VisitScotland, the country’s tourism organisation, and the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) is going to host a free seminar called ‘Monster Marketing’ to help local businesses understand how they can cash in on all aspect of Loch Ness, and not just the creature that might be dwelling in its depths.
The conference will be led by UHI’s Gary Campbell, President of the Loch Ness Fan Club and official registrar for Nessie sightings. After spotting something in the Loch himself 17 years ago, Campbell has compiled a list of possible sightings going as far back as 565AD when Irish missionary St Columba is thought to have encountered Nessie in the River Ness.
Campbell said that he is looking forward to hosting the business seminar and thinks it will be fascinating. “We’ll be exploring the theme that Loch Ness and the surrounding area mean more than just a monster,” he explained. “We’ll discuss that, while the Loch Ness Monster might be seen as the main attraction for visiting the area, it’s important to help tourists see what else is on offer.”
VisitScotland’s Marion Walker added that members of the audience will also be able to hear about future plans of development for the area.
Willie Cameron is Loch Ness Marketing’s director and will be one of the speakers at the seminar, explaining about Nessie’s impact on the local area and how actor Charlie Sheen personally contacted him last summer while hunting the creature himself.
The Monster Marketing seminar will be taking place on Friday 16 May from 12.30pm until 2pm, held at the UHI Executive Office in Inverness. If you would like to book your free place you can do so by emailing [email protected], but people attending via video conference are also welcome.