International Cruise and Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2019

89 Inverness seemed like the right thing to do – it is also closer to Loch Ness.” Located in the former Dochgarroch Hall, a Victorian building that had been steadily falling into disrepair, the centre includes a ticket reception and entrance hall, a retail outlet celebrating Highland produce, a 90- seat café built around a central courtyard, and an external terrace overlooking the Caledonian Canal towpath and quayside. As ever, the hands-on Newton toured the UK’s best cafés, bakeries, tearooms and craft stores to develop her vision. The result is a development that is sympathetic to the distinctive building retaining the original character of the hall. “The expansion of the Loch Ness by Jacobite fleet and shoreside facilities reflects the hugely positive outlook towards the region’s tourism sector, with our reputation for hospitality renowned the world over,” she says. “It’s experiences like these that make the Highlands such a desirable destination, and it’s no surprise that visitor numbers continue to increase.” The company Newton now operates is a far cry from the one she bought back in 2002, and the transformation of the business into a slick operation with four vessels offering a choice of cruises has been rightly recognised. In 2015, Newton was named Highland Business Leader of the Year, and she was made an MBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours list for services to economic and community development in the Highlands of Scotland. She was also awarded the prestigious VisitScotland–Caledonian MacBrayne Silver Thistle Award in recognition of her pivotal role in the region’s tourism industry. This year, Irish travel operator CIE awarded Loch Ness by Jacobite its best UK Loch Cruise operator title. Without hesitation, Newton attributes the success and recognition to teamwork. “Everyone in the business has their part to play and it is our people that deliver the service and all we have to do is give them the tools that they need to do their job to the best of their ability,” she says. “We need to give the customer what they want to provide genuine and memorable experiences. What people want to see is Loch Ness, what they experience is Loch Ness by Jacobite. We are always aiming to strive for better. Treating our visitors not as tourists, but as guests.” C&F ”What people want to see is Loch Ness, what they experience is Loch Ness by Jacobite” Loch Ness by Jacobite’s ferries sail between Dochgarroch Lock and Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness