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Caithness News Bulletins June 2003

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HI-TECH TREE HOUSE SET TO ATTRACT GLOBAL ATTENTION 4 June 03

No one ever had a tree house like this as a child - larger than your average wooden house with all the latest hi-tech equipment! However, at Ackergill Tower near Wick they have just that.

The finishing touches to the Tree House, situated in the grounds of Ackergill Tower, are now complete and the facility looks set to attract even more business to the area from across the globe.

The imaginative development is made from steel and wood and supported by trees within the Ackergill Tower gardens. Inside the Tree House is a comfortable conference room with modern video conferencing and IT equipment including ISDN internet access, providing an ideal location for elite corporate gatherings. 

Ayrshire-based company Pear Tree built the Tree House for Ackergill Ltd - one of only a handful of companies in the world able to construct such a building on this scale - and they believe it to be the biggest single tree house on the planet!

Commenting on the development, Ackergill Ltd director Ian Richards said: "We are competing with other conference venues around the world so we need to be able to offer clients something very special to attract them here and to keep them coming back.

"We believe that it's not just about the standard of accommodation we offer or the quality of food we serve, nor is it simply about the standard or our conference and IT facilities. It is about the entire package and we believe that the availability of the Tree House - a distinctive and novel setting - with its state-of-the-art IT equipment will allow us to retain a competitive position in a global market, continuing to attract elite business clients and house parties."

Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) has assisted Ackergill Ltd with the Tree House development providing a financial package totalling 73,400. This includes funding from the HIE Standards programme - a European funded initiative which provides financial assistance to tourist businesses for investment in the upgrade of their premises in a bid to attract and meet the needs of today's discerning travellers.

Further assistance from CASE worth 7,500 via its e-business support programme helped with the purchase and installation of IT equipment in the Tree House.

Chief executive of CASE, Carroll Buxton said: "Ackergill Tower has developed over the years into a high quality business tourism location and the development of the Tree House will allow them to compete more effectively with their rivals in the global market.

 

"The availability of such an exclusive venue will benefit the wider area with an expected boost in traffic at Wick Airport and increased visitor spend, not forgetting the creation of at least two new jobs as a direct result of the Tree House."