Businesspeople trying to visit and work on Skye in the summer – along with visitor groups seeking affordable accommodation – are the target market for the newly announced Skye Snooze project - artistic impression above.
This involves the siting of 13 accommodation letting units and a reception unit along with related car parking spaces at Jansvans, 6 Broom Place, Portree.
Donnie Nicolson, the managing director at Jan’s, says the idea started out with the concept of actually re-using freight containers in the same way they have used them for self-storage facilities.
However, after months of studying the options for the project, the aim was to use ready-made units which would provide good quality, compact accommodation, and that were easy to install.
They would be air-conditioned and centrally heated with free wi-fi and USB charging points, and it is intended to use high-tech check-in systems involving mobile phones and on-line e-registration and check-ins. Charges for the rooms would be tailored to market demand throughout the year.
The company has told Highland Council, which is considering the planning application: “We consider that this development will complement the existing business, and provide economies of scale in terms of infrastructure, support services, and employment.
“Our aim is to create a new form of tourism accommodation in Skye which is of a quality standard, yet affordably priced, and aimed at an unfulfilled mark et for outdoor enthusiasts, active visitors, and business tourists, who are travelling on a fixed budget.
“Recent tourism accommodation developments on Skye have been aimed at the high end of the market in terms of standards and price, and we feel that we are addressing an alternative market demand which is not presently catered for.
“Skye has also seen a rapid increase in restaurants and eating establishments over recent years, with 31 now based in Portree alone.
“We do not feel that overnight accommodation has kept pace with this expansion. “
Skye has seen a major increase in the number of small group tours of 16 people or less, such as Rabbies, Heart of Scotland Tours, Haggis Adventures, and Real Scottish Journeys, to name but a few. “Our market research has shown that these businesses have considerable difficulty in finding accommodation for their tour business.”
The Scottish Tourism Alliance’s ‘Tourism Scotland 2020’ strategy highlights ‘activities and adventure’ tourism having an estimated annual value of £759m to Scotland’s economy, and with considerable potential for further growth.
Similarly, ‘business tourism’ has an annual value of £817m, with major growth potential.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s Operating Plan to 2019 also highlights the potential for growth in the ‘adventure sector’, and also the need to develop niche tourism opportunities.
The company say their plan: “is similar in nature to other accommodation provided within the Highland Council area in business and retail parks in Fort William and Inverness. “ It does “not aspire to service the longer stay, high end visitor market, and so we feel that the proposed location in Portree Industrial Estate is ideal for this type of accommodation.
“The proposed development would tie in well with the neighbouring Red Brick Café, which provides breakfasts, coffees/teas, snacks, and lunches.
“Car hire facilities would also be available to those visitors who wish to hire a vehicle during their stay.
“A business suite and hot-desking facilities can also be hired by those business tourists, who are looking for temporary office facilities, and superfast broadband, during their stay. “