Mini Bite – from Alistair Danter –11th April 2022

In Alistair's Mini Bite below you'll find information on Alistair Danter's work as Project Manager for SkyeConnect.

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Traffic on the roads is starting to increase. Portree, Kyle and Broadford are feeling busier and if you are out and about more foreign languages are audible, yet business confidence varies significantly across different sectors. It is evident that trading conditions are extremely difficult with both supply and demand side of business operations being squeezed making operational decisions hard and often painful.

With a significant number of lifestyle businesses in the area, it is evident that many are making significant livelihood choices that, in some case, include closing doors. This is a time when the industry has to pull together – businesses may feel that membership, collaborations and support for industry trade bodies is a luxury or irrelevant in the days of OTAs and direct marketing websites, but it is the background work, the invisible work that will make a difference to our destination. It is only through membership subscriptions to match fund our public support that we can operate effectively and make a difference.

Here’s what we’ve been up to recently:

Quick Skip

Skye: The Island of Adventure and Discovery

Whether you’re looking to test yourself on a snowy expedition, get the adrenaline flowing on a freezing coasteering adventure, or looking to relax with local food, whisky and log fire… Skye has you covered…

Collaborative event with Skye Climate Action – Iomairt Gnàth-shìde an Eilein

Ag obair còmhla airson na gnàth-shìde anns an Eilean Sgitheanach heard of a range of initiatives, services, and actions taking place across the area including the appointment of a Community Waste management officer working with the support of the Broadford and Strath Community Co., built environment support for housing from Lochalsh & Skye Housing association and the Scottish Communities climate action network. We also have an ongoing link with Energy Efficiency Business Support Service which has now become Business Energy Scotland https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/business-energy-scotland-service-will-support-smes-on-path-to-net-zero-from-april-2022/

The issue of climate change action is often overwhelming. However, every initiative is worthwhile and our market research indicates that visitors are likely to choose a destination that demonstrates good green credentials over those that don’t. Expect more initiatives, information and action on this in the coming months and years.

Networking Event & Leaflet Swap

On Thursday the 14th April SkyeConnect will be hosting a Leaflet swap, networking and marketing event at the Sligachan Hotel – 10:30 – 1:00 https://www.skye-connect.com/event-news/  There will be an update from Chris Taylor of VisitScotland on current marketing campaigns. This includes a campaign targeting the domestic market which sees famous comic strip characters Dennis and Gnasher and Minnie the Minx as the faces of a new “blamazing” marketing campaign – follow this link for further information:  https://bit.ly/360ixZ3

Integrated Transport Initative

Earlier mini bite reports have recorded the Integrated transport options appraisal initiative that we have been able to instigate with funding from HiTrans and the Highland Council. This is a significant piece of work that will be presented to elected members next week. It contains a number of initiatives designed to “manage down” the use of private vehicles by both residents and visitors alike. Achieving investment for the proposals will be challenging, so as a community we must lobby hard. Using figures based on the Moffat Visitor survey and economic impact assessment carried out in 2019 it is suggested that, on average, tourists bring over 570,000 cars, campervans and caravans to Skye alone each year. In total, these vehicles tour over 154 million miles on the island, generating 27,500 tonnes CO₂e. To offset this we would need to plant 5,000 hectares of trees – an area almost as big as Raasay. While these figures are estimates, we will soon have more accurate data from the vehicle sensors we are installing as part of our collaboration with Edinburgh University on a visitor management tool.

Uig Harbour Closure Consultation

The Highland Council /Cal Mac Consultation meeting on the closure of Uig harbour for 6 months next winter gave a sobering message that while it is clear there will be benefits from the project once complete, it is taking place at a time when local businesses have little or no fat following two years of limited trading. A passenger only service between Tarbet and Uig will provide a minimal service while all other transport links will be via Stornoway and Ullapool, Uist and Mallaig.

Bridge Works at the Fairy Pools

We are asking all accommodation operators to inform guests that Bridge works for two new bridges at the Fairy Pools will start week, beginning Monday 18thApril and lasting for approximately six weeks. The bridge work will not be on the existing line of the path and therefore there will be minimal disruption for path users who will continue to use the old burn crossing points whilst the works are ongoing. The aim is to minimise disruption for road users by requesting deliveries of bridge materials out-with the peak periods.

Scottish Tourism Thistle Awards

The Scottish Tourism Thistle Awards are back and we would encourage all businesses to visit the promotional site, consider the criteria for selection and submit an entry. We have some great operators in the area and participation in the event is a great business experience. If you are successful in the regional awards, you will be invited to the National Finals in Edinburgh – go on, give it a shot! https://visitscotland.eventsair.com/thistleawards2022

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