Skye is “well and truly open for business” was the message spelt loud and clear this week as local companies threw their weight behind efforts to promote the island.
Responding to recent press stories which have tended to focus on tourism pitfalls, business and community representatives moved to show a united front, backing a campaign to encourage even more visitors to come to the island.
Over 100 businesses from Skye and Raasay have put their name to a letter, which sets out the importance of the tourism industry to the area’s economy.
In recent months press stories have suggested Skye was an area to avoid due to overcrowding. The tourism industry’s treatment of seasonal workers has also come under the spotlight in reports which island firms say has painted an unfair picture of local business.
The letter, which was co-ordinated by local MSP Kate Forbes and tourism promotional body SkyeConnect, said: “Nearly everybody on the islands is linked in some way to tourism, and the economic opportunities of the tourism industry support the rural and remote communities of Skye, Raasay and beyond.
“The tourist industry can be a relatively unpredictable industry and so it concerns us to see sensationalist stories in the national press, for a second year running, which could jeopardise the jobs, businesses and income of local people.
“We would hate to see an industry which has taken many years to develop undermined by a few stories which don’t fairly depict the efforts of hardworking people across the area.”
The letter also backs recent investment in infrastructure at some of Skye’s most popular sites.
It adds: “The Isle of Skye and Raasay, like many areas of the Highlands and Islands, is home to communities whose future is dependent on good jobs, steady incomes and business opportunities. Tourism makes a critical contribution to the local economy, and indeed the wider Scottish economy, and indirectly enables people to live, work and raise a family on the island.
“As such, we write to categorically assert that Skye and Raasay is well and truly open for business.”
More on this story in this week’s West Highland Free Press.