Impact of Tourist Office closures greater in rural areas says MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar

lochmaddy TO

In a letter to Joan McAlpine MSP Chair of Holyrood’s Committee on Culture Tourism, Europe and External Affairs, Angus MacNeil MP has asked for the impact of the closure of Tourist Information Centres to be investigated.

Commenting Mr MacNeil said

“A 70 mile stretch of my Constituency covering a number of Islands will go from having three Tourist Information Offices to having none. Visit Scotland appear to have decided to close Tourist Offices purely on the basis of footfall without regard to the geography of the area or to the number of visitors compared to the size of the resident population.

Castlebay Tourist office had 17000 visitors in 2016 – 17 times the population of the Isle of Barra, Lochmaddy saw 6,000 visitors, more than 4 times the number of residents. With few other sources of information in these rural areas the impact on tourism could be substantial.

I have asked Joan McAlpine MSP and her Committee to look into how Visit Scotland made their decisions and the impact on tourism in remote and rural areas such as the Islands of these cuts.”