Highlands gift card could encourage tourism in the region and remind people to shop locally, say Nairn business owners

Dan and Elle Tyler from Airts and Pairts.

Over 120 businesses are part of the Highlands Gift Card, including approximately 30 Nairn businesses.

The gift card can be spent like a debit card on shopping, recreation and attractions, accommodation, food and beverages, health and beauty, and services.

The utility of the Highlands Gift Card in attracting both ‘hometown’ tourists and those from further afield.

He was hailed by the Airts & Pairts travel agency in Nairn. Co-owner Elle Tyler said: “The Highlands Gift Card is such a brilliant thing. It gives local people the opportunity to showcase what they offer and people to realize 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 working together and sharing the love and community warmth you get when you shop locally. If you don’t know what to give someone as a gift, or if you’re buying for someone who 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, take a tour of the Highlands, eat in local cafes and restaurants and visit our very special little shops. Nairn is a great hub for exploring what is in and around Nairn, such as its fairy tale castles, gardens and battlefields. Likewise, people can use the card to become a local tourist. It often happens that we have visited many places in the world, but never really discovered our own region.

“The Highlands Gift Card is like the golden ticket to the Highlands and it supports the whole idea of ​​the circular economy. It is also an amazing opportunity for businesses to be part of the Highlands Gift Card, their giving a route to market, access to new customers and a new way to promote yourself, all for free.

“If we don’t support local, we won’t have a beautiful main street and we will lose so much knowledge and those local, handcrafted and unique things. The pandemic has been very hard on our businesses, but with the new Highlands Gift Card, our community spirit can really grow.

The card’s potential to encourage tourism was also highlighted by Anika Schulz, owner of Cawdor House and Café Lavender, which are part of the Highlands Gift Card:

“Cawdor House is a small boutique hotel and Café Lavender is a cafe with a German bakery, and both are fully licensed. The hotel has been open since 2016 and the cafe opened in 2020. I think the Highlands gift card is a really good idea because when you give a gift it’s nice to give people a flexible choice on where to go. where to spend it. The gift card will encourage people to experiment and try businesses or experiences they have never tried before. It could also encourage tourism. We have the most wonderful nature in the Highlands, a charming and welcoming atmosphere and many truly individual businesses to discover.

Anika and Andreas Schulz, owners of Cafe Lavender and Cawdor House.
Anika and Andreas Schulz, owners of Cafe Lavender and Cawdor House.

“When people spend their Highlands Gift Card at Cawdor House, they get a unique experience and a personalized welcome. The products we serve are local, organic and healthier, so homemade breads, fresh eggs and fruits from local farms. My husband Andreas is an artist so his photographs are displayed around the hotel.

“It’s an original hotel, offering something different, and there is a real soul in the house. I think the important thing is to be authentic in what you offer. Tourists could visit any part of the Highlands and have a completely different experience each time. We make sure guests get lots of information about the area, about restaurants and places to visit, we need to work together.

“People can also spend their gift card at Café Lavande. I think people feel at home in the cafe. In Germany we have Kaffee and Kuchen, the ritual of getting together with friends and family on a Sunday afternoon for coffee and cake, and that’s what we tried to recreate at Café Lavender. People bring a book or sit in the sun in our outdoor garden chatting with friends over a German afternoon tea.

“People recognize and realize how important it is to buy local. Everyone wants to have a vibrant downtown, but if we don’t visit our businesses, they won’t survive. The Highlands Gift Card will help keep money local, and that benefits everyone. Now we need to create awareness that the gift card is here, it’s a really nice option for birthdays and other occasions throughout the year.

Chris Taylor, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, said: “As the traditional visitor season begins in the Highlands, it is still very important that we help the industry recover by supporting local tourism businesses who have been hit hard. affected by COVID-19 in the past two years.

“I hope the Highland Gift Card will encourage people – visitors and locals alike – to get around Nairn and the surrounding area and perhaps spend some money in places they have never been before. They could take a trip, a day trip or a meal out and become a tourist in their own area to help these vital tourism businesses recover.

“The tourism sector is one of the most important sectors in the North of Scotland and tourism is a positive force in the region – it brings in money, creates jobs and underpins many of the services on which we all matter.”

Another Nairn company that has signed up to accept the Nairn Gift Card is SKY Delights. Dr. Sam Young is the owner and said it can remind people to shop locally:

“I launched SKY Delights in 2010 and sell a wide range of organic, vegetarian and specialty foods and beverages as well as dietary supplements, toiletries and cleaning products. Nairn previously had a delicatessen and a health food store, and after taking a voluntary departure, I wanted to create a place where people could continue to buy healthy and ethical products locally.

“The lockdown has been a boost for us as a business. Lots of people found us not realizing we were here in Nairn. Some people are now returning to work and resuming their old shopping habits, but many have stuck with us. We have a group of committed regulars who continue to use our free Friday delivery service, via pushbike.

Dr. Sam Young, founder of SKY Delights.
Dr. Sam Young, founder of SKY Delights.

“The main reason I signed up for the Highlands Gift Card is because I think it’s an ideal gift for people who live in the city and for those visiting the Highlands on holiday. The tourist side is important I notice that when campsites are open we welcome new valuable customers because they forgot something or want to try something new.

“The Highlands Gift Card is a great idea. Basically, if we don’t use our local businesses, they will disappear and we will lose downtown as a hub. The larger mission of a store like mine is to connect people. I advertise different local events, introduce clients to other clients and recommend other businesses. And I know other stores do the same. If people stop shopping locally, they would miss that connection.

“The Highlands Gift Card can remind people to shop locally. In addition to being used as a gift, it can also be suitable for people who want to spread out their expenses or plan ahead. If businesses close, another is unlikely to open to sell something similar. I think when people buy locally they realize the price is very similar to online options; but with us, you also get advice from a real person who has probably used the product, knows its attributes, and likes how other customers find it.

Nairn Business Improvement District is piloting the Highlands Gift Card in Nairn. Lucy Harding, Head of Nairn BID, said: “I’m really proud of all the businesses that have signed up for the Highlands Gift Card. As BID, our mission is to support locals as much as possible, and the gift card works alongside that. Nairn is a very touristy resort, only 20 minutes from Inverness airport and having our own gift card will bring people to the area. But as well as tourism, it’s about showing our support for small businesses in Nairn. The challenges for businesses are not over, from covid to fears over rising gas and electricity prices. Nairn is a hidden gem, and through the Highlands Gift Card we can share what makes Nairn special.

The Highlands Gift Card was introduced by the Scottish Government as part of a landmark initiative to give every region of Scotland the opportunity to introduce their own local gift card, issued by Scotland’s Town Partnership (STP) and Perth-based fintech Miconex.

STP Chief Executive Phil Prentice said: “Tourism is vital to the success and prosperity of our Scottish towns and cities, and it is fantastic to see businesses in Nairn supporting the Highlands Gift Card so that we can remember people what is here on their doorstep in Scotland. .”

Colin Munro, Managing Director of Miconex, said: “With over 120 businesses registered under the Highlands Gift Card, this local card is an attractive customer proposition, something people will want to buy and receive. Due to the vast choice available through the card, it’s free for businesses to be part of the Highlands Gift Card, and it’s as easy to accept as any other card payment.

Highland businesses wishing to join the Highlands Gift Card can register to accept the card for free at: https://lovelocal.scot/giftcard/. To find out more about the Highlands Gift Card and where it can be spent, please visit https://scotlandgiftslocal.com and https://scotlandgiftslocal.com/nairn/


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