Tourism initiative eyes the isles

Drive to boost visitor information on Outer Hebrides

The number of visits to Scotland’s islands was up 22% last year

PLANS to enhance visitor information on the Outer Hebrides have been outlined by VisitScotland and Outer Hebrides Tourism.

The two organisations have joined forces to launch a new approach to the way in which information is delivered to those visiting the islands, which include Lewis and Harris, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Barra; it aims to ensure visitors have a “varied, convenient and co-ordinated” range of information channels in a bid to encourage them to “stay longer, spend more and spread the benefits of tourism” on the Western Isles year-round.

Plans include enhancing the current iCentre in Stornoway, creating a new year-round information partnership in Tarbert, developing new and enhanced information partnerships on the Uists, and developing a stronger presence with the local tourism industry on Barra. The new approach will also ensure the Outer Hebrides has a presence in mainland VisitScotland iCentres, including Ullapool, Oban, Portree and Inverness.

Ian Fordham, chair of Outer Hebrides Tourism, said the new approach is designed to meet changes in the ways visitors seek information.

“Research has shown that visitors are now seeking information on their holiday destination in places as diverse as the breakfast table, the pub or on the road,” he said.

“But in places like the Outer Hebrides, the personal touch remains important, so we are keen to ensure that our visitors can access information in a ‘joined-up’ way, through a variety of options wherever they are across our islands and whatever time of year.”