Highland Experience secures six-figure CBILS loan from RBS
Scottish tour company Highland Experience has secured a six-figure sum in CBILS support from Royal Bank of Scotland to help cope with a downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Highland Experience, which was established in 2003, offers award-winning guided tours across the Scottish Highlands and Islands and has hubs in Edinburgh and Inverness.
Michael Bremner, the firm’s managing director, has successfully grown the business from humble beginnings with a single minibus and tour guide, to last year carrying close to 9,000 passengers in a single month.
In the past decade, Highland Experience has seen a consistent growth in turnover – by as much as 50% annually. However, with tourism grinding to a halt in the wake of COVID-19, the company saw its income drop overnight.
The funding package provided by RBS has allowed the company to plan for emergence from lockdown with quality and sustainability as a key focus. Ambitious plans to market the business in China this year have been postponed, but it is hoped this can be revisited in the years to come.
Mr Bremner said: “Our relationship with Royal Bank of Scotland was extremely new, having switched our accounts in January. Throughout this whole process, Peter and the team have been an incredible support so I am confident that it was the right decision for our business. Securing the CBILS funding was hassle-free, and it’s provided a real lifeline for our company during a trying few months.”
Peter Hodgkinson, relationship director at Royal Bank of Scotland, added: “With travel and tourism one of the hardest hit sectors, we were able to prioritise Highland Experience as its revenue stream was stopped in its tracks. The business had been looking forward to a strong summer season having made changes to its website and infrastructure, so I look forward to supporting the business as it plans to build back.”
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