THE first Royal National Mod in Inverness for 17 years is now expected to generate a £3 million windfall for the local economy, say organisers.
The figure, which is 50 per cent higher than the £2 million estimate made just two months ago, came as the finishing touches were put in place ahead of the launch of the festival later today.
And organisers believe the Mod’s biggest ever Fringe programme is one of the main reasons for the surge.
The chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach, John Morrison, said: "The consistency of our figures year-after-year gives the figure a lot of credibility because we record the revenue that comes in from each Mod.
"Last year saw £2.47 million come in, and that figure is an accumulation of everything, from hotels to transport and meals out. I am confident that we will get even more people coming because there has been an even greater effort made with fringe events.
"You can never say for certain and there is a hint of speculation involved, but I think £3 million is a good estimate."
About 3000 competitors from across the globe and thousands more spectators are expected to attend Scotland’s biggest Gaelic cultural festival between now and 18th October.
The majority of hotels in Inverness are already fully booked, having taken reservations months in advance.
Victoria Erasmus, who chairs Inverness Hotels association and owns the Glen Mhor Hotel, said: "It is important to hotel owners because it makes a huge difference to revenue, especially in the autumn.
"I think everyone in the tourism industry here has also got really behind the Mod, we may be a small community but we can also do things brilliantly."
Mike Smith, manager of Inverness Business Improvement District, added: "We are confident it will give a massive boost to the economy in Inverness and not just in hospitality.
"People will be spending money in the shops in Inverness and buying Christmas presents for family. It is a really exciting time for the city."