FIFTEEN backpackers affected by a fire at a city centre hostel will have accommodation paid for them by Highland Council for up to four nights.
The visitors from Australia, Czech Republic, France, Mexico, Spain, USA and Japan need time to make arrangements after losing vital travel documentation, including their passports, in the blaze at Eastgate Hostel this morning.
They were among 51 tourists and three staff safely evacuated from the building at around 5am.
Inverness leader Ian Brown said the offer of accommodation was a goodwill gesture from the council because it had no statutory obligation under homeless legislation to house visitors who found themselves affected by the fire.
"The nationalities of the visitors underlines the worldwide draw of Inverness to young travellers," he said. "We are glad to see them and happy to offer Highland hospitality in this time of distress."
An investigation into the cause of the fire is taking place.