The spotlight was placed on Skye's tourism industry today (Monday 3 September.)
A report by Highland Council's Principal Tourism Officer, Colin Simpson, was discussed.
Mr Simpson reported that Skye had an estimated 660,000 visitors in 2017, spending 1.6 million overnight stays with an economic impact of £145 million.
Mr Simpson also updated Members on the progress of local applications for the Scottish Government’s Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund. A £300,000 award to the Fairy Pools project to develop visitor facilities, including toilets, at the Glenbrittle pools and waterfalls; and £100,000 award for road access improvements and parking at Neist Point lighthouse, were 2 of the first 3 pilot projects awarded.
Highland Council has received 3 applications in the first round for: Storr Toilets and Motorhome Facilities; Portree Car parking and Motorhome Facilities; and Blabheinn Parking and Toilets. In the next funding round the Council anticipates receiving further applications for the Sleat, and Fairy Glen areas and perhaps for more Motorhome Facilities.
Mr Simpson said: “We are seeing great opportunities for tourism on Skye with good and improving access to the area; new developments include the growth of the cruise industry, increasing requests from film and TV shoots to locate in the area; and the development of the events industry.
“Visitor behaviour is changing in the area and creating ‘honeypots’; the unknown of Brexit and the ever increasing need of providing funding and match funding for tourism development all adds up to a challenging tourism environment that needs more investment if it is to thrive.”