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Visit Inverness Loch Ness appoints new chief executive

By Rachel Smart

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Don Johnstone.
Don Johnstone.

Tourism organisation Visit Inverness Loch Ness (VILN) has appointed a new chief executive.

Don Johnstone will be joining the Tourism Business Improvement District with a wealth of tourism experience having worked at VisitScotland for over three years.

Inverness born and bred, Mr Johnstone said: “I am delighted to join VILN at what is a pivotal time for the tourism industry.

“I join in October which is the deadline by which self-catering providers need to have applied for a short-term let licence. I know that many small businesses have been struggling with this application process which has led to less than a quarter of eligible businesses within the Highland Council area submitting an application.

“If the deadline for applications is extended, then VILN will do all it can to support its members with this.

“Then there is also the prospect of a visitor levy being introduced. If the Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill is passed by the Scottish Parliament, then it will give councils the power to apply a levy on stays in overnight accommodation based on a percentage of the accommodation cost.

“I am keen that VILN will do all it can to ensure that members’ voices are heard when it comes to how the levy is applied and how revenue raised from it is spent.”

Mr Johnstone’s appointment follows the resignation of Michael Golding in July.

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