Sponsor deal sparks call to boycott tourism event

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The body representing Scotland’s mountaineers has called for a boycott of the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards after Scottish and Southern Energy was named as sponsor of the event.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland, which represents 11,000 members, has described news that the power corporation was to sponsor the 2013 awards as “a substantial embarrassment”.

In a letter to The Scotsman today, chief officer David Gibson said: “We would suggest that potential entrants might think about boycotting the awards this year in the hope that HITA (Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards) will find more suitable sponsors in the future.”

The company, which is behind the controversial Beauly to Denny power line and a number of windfarm projects last night defended their position saying they support tourism initiatives in the region.

Ian Couper, chief executive of Energy North, said: “It has been proven time and again that the renewables industry does not impact adversely upon tourism within the Highlands.”