The results of a SkyeConnect survey of business confidence, following the announcement of plans to re-open the economy, reveal another lockdown could decimate the industry.Read More
Our Manifesto: Making Skye a Truly Great Place to Live, Work and Visit
SkyeConnect firmly believes that the restoration and development of sustainable tourism on Skye must happen in tandem with the development of the island’s infrastructure, wider economy and affordable housing stock.
We support the creation of a broader economy, with less reliance on tourism, that creates high value jobs to keep our young people on Skye and to attract talent from across the Highlands, Scotland and the UK. Lockdown has demonstrated that virtually any job, especially in the ‘tech’ industry can be done from anywhere with the appropriate IT and Broadband infrastructure. So why not Skye?
Tourism will continue to be a mainstay of the island economy. The Moffat Report of 2020 demonstrated that, pre-Covid, tourism generates £260million of economic value. We must manage tourism to ensure that islanders are the beneficiaries of tourism. Islanders should be able to go about their daily business uninterrupted. Those whose livelihoods are derived from working the land must not be disadvantaged by recreational land use. Above all, our communities and our culture must be respected.
Skye’s iconic landscape and heritage deserves to be treated as a de facto National Park (if it is not granted the full designation), with the finances and powers to manage the visitor experience and develop the infrastructure to support the visitor economy.
Skye deserves at least the same “Island Deal” as has been granted to the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland. This would enable, among other things, the development of a robust and effective Ranger service to manage the visitor experience across Skye. As well as boots on the ground, we need the investment from an “Island Deal” to harness ground-breaking technology such as Smart traffic management and Geo-fencing to reduce congestion and environmental damage at the most popular sites. We need the funds to deliver the dream of an island network of walking, cycling and wheeling paths.
We need to enhance the concept of ‘Hub and Spoke’ Park and Ride facilities to encourage visitors to leave their cars and travel to our iconic sites in a manner that is less damaging to the environment and reduces disruption to our communities. We need to champion the use of public transport so that this becomes a realistic choice for visitors and residents alike to arrive on and move around the island. We need to manage the Motorhome/Campervan visitor with clear limits on numbers and firm rules on where they can and cannot go. We need to champion the use of electric vehicles with challenging goals such as 100% electric by 2030.
We need the “Island Deal” to enable us to market more of what Skye has to offer and to create new experiences, such as Agritourism and food, heritage and history trails. We need to harness the growing demand for ‘voluntourism’ and the desire for visitors to give something back to the places they visit, both financially and in kind.
We need to have the ability and confidence to say, “Sorry, but Skye is full. Please book another time”. To this end, we must work together to create experiences that support a year-round tourism economy.
SkyeConnect will campaign, lobby and advocate until Skye has all the tools to make our commitments a reality and to create an island where everyone feels it is a truly great place to live, work and visit.