Friday, November 22, 2019
The skye times mobile

Unesco World Heritage status could be sought for the Isle of Skye, suggests a paper published by the Highland Council.

The suggestion was put forward in order to help attract funding to improve facilities for tourists.

The paper contains short and long-term ways of easing the pressure caused by the island's popularity with tourists.

Another long-term proposal includes the staging of a tall ships sailing race on a route between Skye and the remote archipelago of St Kilda, which has dual World Heritage status.  This could draw new investment to Skye. 

Highland Council has described its paper, Skye and Raasay Tourism Infrastructure: A Dynamic Workshop Approach, as "ambitious."

The report's findings include:

In 2013-14, Skye was visited by an estimated 1.3 million people.  Between 2014 and 2016, that number of visitors may have increased by 12.7%

Highland Council said tourism infrastructure issues on Skye and neighbouring Raasay "came to a watershed" this year, with the "exponential growth in tourist numbers colliding with an infrastructure that is no longer fit for purpose."

Councillor Ronald MacDonald, who co-wrote the paper, said a World Heritage Site listing for Skye was among the long-term objectives.  Councillor MacDonald said: "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."

Shorter-term aspirations include improving car parking at sites popular with tourists.

John Finlayson, another Skye councillor, said the island's communities were working with the council to overcome the challenges, adding that he hoped the Scottish government would also join that effort.

The published paper can be read here.

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