Tuesday, January 21, 2020
The skye times mobile

Skye needs a "shared transport system for time-poor tourists" in order to help alleviate pressure on the island's creaking roads infrastructure, the constituency MSP has said. 

Kate Forbes MSP added that she has also been exploring the possibility of "protected status" for the island to ensure the tourist hotspot remained as "unspoiled" as possible. 

Over the past few months the Skye MSP has been discussing the issue extensively with tourism groups such as SkyeConnect as well as other local businesses and residents – and she recently spent a week on the island as part of her summer constituency tour. 

Media reports have said that the island's 10,000 population has increased at least six-fold during the height of the summer season, which has exacerbated problems with basic amenities, such as toilets, parking and litter.  

Kate Forbes MSP wrote: "We need a map that recognises that it is TripAdvisor which is setting the agenda. 

"That means we need to help visitors travel to hotspots in another way – not in hundreds of cars, or mega-size coaches, but with some sort of shared transport system. 

"It is already happening to some extent, but needs to grow. 

"It is a broad generalisation, but tourists are time poor; they want to visit key sites, take a selfie and then move on. 

"Let's help them do that – and at the same time take traffic off the road."

The Skye MSP also said: "The question is not whether there are too many tourists, but about whether it creates a sustainable future for Skye – permanent jobs, higher incomes and opportunities for entrepreneurs. 

"The State has a role to play; we need to protect the land, and alleviate pressure at the pinch points. 

"It is difficult to legislate for common courtesy – don't litter, don't light damaging camp fires and don't leave unpleasant presents for someone else to step on. 

"The sheer numbers walking to the Fairy Pools, or leaving bits and pieces at the Fairy Glen undermines the marketing man's definition of Skye as 'unspoiled'. 

"That's why I've been exploring the possibility of some kind of protected status for Skye, which would recognise the incredible geological, natural wealth of Skye."

Before the summer Kate Forbes MSP organised the first of a series of meetings as part of an ongoing process led by the Skye MSP to identify and find solutions to the pressures on the island caused by increases in tourism. 

It is hoped that the Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Fiona Hyslop MSP, will address a gathering of community representatives, local businesses and public bodies at the second of this series of meetings later in the year.  

A date has yet to be finalised, but will be announced in due course.

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