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The Highlands' North Coast 500 urges people to follow UK and Scottish Government advice on self-isolation and the need to limit travel to essential journeys only; its appeal was made amid increasing anger at tourists flocking to the area in a bid to self-isolate away from Covid-19 coronavirus hot-spots

By Philip Murray

Bealach na Ba. Picture: John Davidson
Bealach na Ba. Picture: John Davidson

THE North Coast 500 has urged tourists toying with a journey to the Highlands to think again amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The tourism body made the comments after a spate of politicians and business organisations hit out at campervanners and second-home owners who have been flocking to the Highlands as they seek to flee the areas worst affected by Covid-19.

Commenting on Twitter shortly before 11.30am, the North Coast 500 said: "We do not encourage people to visit the North Coast 500 during the current crisis.

"In the interests of absolute clarity, we would repeat again: we echo the advice given by the government regarding travel, self-isolation and social distancing at this time."

The remarks echoed those of the North Highland Initiative – the organisation which created the North Coast 500 brand – which tweeted similar calls earlier on Sunday.

Posting on Twitter, it said: "Springtime in the North Highlands – normally an amazing and uplifting time of year. We look forward to welcoming visitors on and around the North Coast 500 later this year to enjoy our scenery, activities, food drink and craic but PLEASE wait until safe to do so. #StayHomeSaveLives."

The comments come after "furious" politicians hit out at reckless and irresponsible behaviour among tourists who were ignoring official advice and travelling into the Highlands regardless of the virus outbreak.

Fellow Highland tourism organisation, Road to the Isles – which represents businesses along the famous A830 road between Fort William and Mallaig – has also urged tourists to stay away.

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