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Business Focus: Inverness BID manager Mike Smith sees positive signs for the city as we move into autumn


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The new River Ness Hotel on Church Street is one of a number of positive new developments in Inverness city centre.
The new River Ness Hotel on Church Street is one of a number of positive new developments in Inverness city centre.

by Mike Smith, Inverness BID manager

With autumn drawing in it just feels like the right time to take stock after such a difficult 18 months living with the pandemic.

Whilst initially Highland was less badly affected than the rest of the UK, I am certain that we all now know friends or family who have been laid low by Covid – fortunately in my case this hasn’t required hospitalisation.

Throughout this time one can only continue to admire the dedication and professionalism of our fantastic NHS workers.

It really does seem to me that we are now moving forward as a community with each passing day.

Having visited family in both London and Birmingham recently my view is that people are being cautiously responsible whilst embracing the opportunity to at last return to something more like our former lifestyles.

Scotlands Town Partnership dropin session at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness...Mike Smith, of Inverness Bid...Picture: Callum Mackay. Image No..
Scotlands Town Partnership dropin session at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness...Mike Smith, of Inverness Bid...Picture: Callum Mackay. Image No..

Unfortunately, this personal movement forward comes at a time when our businesses are being severely affected by staff and delivery shortages.

I was always told (and have some personal experience) that the Civil Service are extremely efficient and forward looking, only being held back by the foibles of the politicians!

Whether that is the case or not, I really can’t understand why so little planning was seemingly done to prepare the country for the post-Brexit issues we’re now facing.

The proposal to allow at this time of crisis just 5000 extra drivers for a three-month period (in reality more like two!) is just tinkering around the edges of one the barriers to rebuilding the UK economy.

Despite these issues it’s great to see there is the confidence for significant investment being made in Inverness city centre.

Impressively, such investment comes from both the independent sector with the new fabulously fitted-out Mangrove Restaurant in Academy Street adjacent to the excellent La Le Turkish Mediterranean restaurant nearby.

Such investments are complimented by international chains like Radisson’s River Ness Hotel in Church Street which will be joined in mid 2022 by Vastint’s 170-bed AC Marriot in Glebe Street – a striking addition indeed to our tourism offer.


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