Page last updated at 11:11 GMT, Thursday, 11 September 2008 12:11 UK

Hopes for Inverness-China flights

Loch Ness monster and kilts
The group said the Highlands needs to capitalise on iconic images.

A tourist industry expedition to China could lead to charter aircraft flying direct from a city of seven million people into Inverness Airport.

Highlands Loch Ness, which markets the area, sent a party to a major tourist event in the city of Shenyang, north of Beijing.

They said they were delighted with the reaction they got a top-level meetings.

They now want to investigate the possibility of international flights to tap into a market of "huge potential".

The organisation's chairman, hotelier Nicol Manson, said the reaction to their visit had been "astonishing" and they had achieved "remarkable inroads".

He added that the direct effects of the visit would only become apparent over time, but that Scotland and the Highlands needed to capitalise on strengths.

He said: "I think the average Scot is their own worst advocate of what we best have in international terms and without doubt they are kilts, bagpipes and the Loch Ness monster.

"Then you can go on to other things that we can be equally proud like Scotch whisky, lots of local produce that we can proud of in world class terms. We musn't scoff at these - it's what makes us different from the rest of world."

Loch Ness is 'wonder' of Britain
10 Sep 08 |  Highlands and Islands
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20 Aug 08 |  Highlands and Islands

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