£350k for Skye and Raasay tourism recovery

Raasay Distillery

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A three-year strategy to help in the recovery of the tourism industry in Skye and Raasay has secured £350,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Destination management organisation (DMO), SkyeConnect CIC (SCC), will use funds to deliver their long-term recovery plan to restore confidence and resilience in Skye and Raasay’s tourism sector.

The islands-wide recovery strategy will reach across and beyond sector boundaries to engage communities, enable product and supply chain developments and to enhance skills within the economy.

There will also be specific engagement with food and drink producers to work with operators to showcase and sell the area’s world-class produce to a global audience.
The funding is from £3million approved by HIE in September 2020 to support strategically important tourism DMOs over the next three years, as part of wider support for the tourism sector’s recovery.

Alison Gainsford, head of business growth for Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross, said: ‘The importance of the tourism industry for Skye and Raasay cannot be overstated and has provided an important source of employment for people living in this spectacular part of our region.

‘During the Covid-19 pandemic SkyeConnect was an extremely effective voice for the industry in our area. This funding will allow the organisation to develop and implement their sustainability plan for the future, while continuing to support Skye and Raasay’s tourism industry.’

Dave Till, chairman of SkyeConnect, said: ‘SkyeConnect is delighted to have secured this funding commitment from HIE. It is an endorsement of the important role of DMOs in general and the huge amount of work carried out by the volunteer Board of SkyeConnect throughout the pandemic. SkyeConnect provided a voice for every sector of the industry along with hard data to back-up appeals for industry support. We are in no doubt that we have a long road ahead of us in leading the industry through the recovery phase.

‘The commitment from HIE will assist us in implementing the commitments made in the Skyeconnect manifesto to develop our industry in a financially and environmentally sustainable manner so that Skye remains a truly great place to live, work and visit.’