AS thousands of tourists have flooded into the Highland capital for summer, a different kind of visitor is arriving in the city as well. The “escort” trade in Inverness is flourishing as women arrive in to a bid to cash in on the tourism boom. Upwards of 100 adverts have appeared online from addresses across the city in recent weeks.
The removal of barriers across the EU allied to the perception of Inverness as a prosperous, affluent city has meant female “escorts” are pouring in for business. They also believe the simple law of supply and demand means they can charge much higher prices in
Inverness then in cities in the south – as much as a third or even 50 per cent more than in Manchester, Birmingham, or Glasgow.
The “escort” trade has expanded to include streets across the Highland capital – with many local residents having no idea what was going on next door.
These streets in recent times have included King Street, Caledonian Road, Church Street, Glenurquhart Road, Baron Taylors Street, flats at Portland Place, Greig Street, extending all the way out to Holm Farm Road.
Several leading hotels have also been used by women in the escort business – entirely unknown to the owners.
One client said: “It’s quite straightforward. You just walk in and get the lift to where you’re going. No one asks you anything.”
However, a major point of contention – far removed from concern about rising shopping costs in the average grocery store – relates to “inflated prices”. One client said: “Some people are against this for morality. That’s up to them. I’m against it because the women are now charging too much.”
Charges have risen to as much as £150 an hour – or nearly four pounds a minute.
Women who come here usually arrive in pairs and frequently advertise themselves openly on the Internet as being “on tour”, as if they were music stars.
They give dates when they will arrive and depart, and during the time they’re here seem to have no shortage of clients despite the high costs of the company they provide.
Inverness is no Prague or Amsterdam, and is a place associated mainly with family or recreational holidays. But with every city hotel and guest house packed, the fact of the number of “escorts” flooding into the city over the summer suggests they are also intent on making the most of the city’s holiday boom.