A NEW partnership has been formed to drive up quality and information provision in businesses on Scotland’s answer to Route 66.

The collaboration between VisitScotland and the North Coast 500 (NC500) will ensure that the tens of thousands of visitors who travel the route every year will have more access than ever before to information on what to see and do while on their journey.

The agreement means the 261 businesses who are business members of the NC500 destination group will be able to become VisitScotland Information Partners (VIPs) for free, ensuring they are equipped to advise, inform and inspire visitors from all over the world. They will also be given a listing on the national tourism organisation’s website – visitscotland.com – which receives 20 million sessions per year.

The VIP scheme is designed to help those working within the tourism industry to become local ambassadors for their town or region by providing first-class information to visitors. Launched in May 2016, it is open to all Quality Assured businesses, as well as community groups and social enterprises.

The national tourism organisation and NC500 will also work together on a series of joint roadshows in 2018, focused on the quality of the visitor experience.

Both organisations say they are confident the initiatives will build on the “already outstanding visitor experience” on the 516-mile route through the Highlands, which has become a global phenomenon in just two years.