Paper published focuses on tourism infrastructure for Skye and Raasay
A workshop focusing on issues surrounding tourism infrastructure on Skye and Raasay is to take place following the publication today (Wednesday 25 October) of a paper entitled - ‘Skye and Raasay Tourism Infrastructure: A Dynamic Workshop Approach’
At their October 6 2017 Ward Business meeting the Eliean a’Cheò Councillors decided to launch the paper, written by Cllr Ronald MacDonald and Donald MacRae, in advance of organsing a special stakeholders workshop that will focus on the key issues in the document.
This dynamic workshop approach involves engaging all stakeholders, to decide on the relevant projects that satisfy the laid out objectives. As part of this approach a novel scoring method will be used for evaluating and prioritising projects. The workshop, which will take place on Skye within the next few weeks, is being organised by the Council but will be independently facilitated.
Tourism infrastructure (TI) issues on Skye and Raasay came to a watershed in 2017 with the exponential growth in tourist numbers colliding with an infrastructure that is no longer fit for purpose. This ambitious paper seeks to provide solutions to the issues and, particularly, solutions which are sustainable for both locals and tourists for this and future generations.
The paper firstly asks why the TI problem arose and attributes this to the effective zero entrance price that is currently charged for iconic sites such as the Storr and Quirang. As the paper shows, this is not a unique issue. So at least part of the solution to the TI problem will be some form of pricing, either through, say, parking charges, licensing or quota restrictions. The paper, though, stresses that there can be no one unique solution - the solution is likely to be multifactorial.
Councillor Ronald MacDonald, who co-wrote the paper said: “In thinking about solutions, the paper offers a dynamic modelling approach that has two dimensions. The first is to think how the TI issues may be addressed in the short term (1-2 years) – the obvious road surface, parking and toilet issues that everyone is familiar with; through to the medium term (3-5) years, in terms of more ambitious parking and congestion solutions, which may include a park and ride model for part of the island; the long-run is that which offers sustainability to the tourist industry in terms of the iconic sites and of course to the local community, and needs to be thought through now at this watershed time.
Councillor MacDonald added: “The paper proposes two long-term ‘anchor’ project statements: a dual World Heritage Site listing for Skye and a Tall Ships project. The World heritage listing is intended to offer long run sustainability to the land based tourism industry, by attracting funding from a diverse range of sources, and similarly the Tall ships race, with various events built around it is intended to kick start the sleeping giant of marine tourism by way of offering imaginative and innovative funding solutions. “
Councillor John Finlayson added: “Already local communities are taking responsibility and looking to work with the Council and other agencies to move things forward. I think it is good that we are taking ownership and I’m sure the workshop will pull people together to collectively and creatively look at the infrastructure issues that are recognised by all our communities. Skye is the second busiest tourist destination in Scotland and we hope the Scottish Government recognises the significance of the impact tourism is having on the Island and we can all jointly work together to ensure it remains a top destination for people to enjoy for many years to come.”