Local News for Tuesday 8th November 2017
VisitScotland ‘has given up’ on islands
VisitScotland has been accused of 'relinquishing its responsibilities to rural areas' following the announcement that tourist information offices in Lochmaddy and Castlebay are to close. The closures follow last year's closure of the Lochboisdale office and will mean no national tourism authority presence in the 70-mile stretch of tourist heaven between Vatersay and Berneray. Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil said: "I am very disappointed at VisitScotland's decision to close the tourist information centres in Lochmaddy, Isle of North Uist and Castlebay, Isle of Barra. At a time when tourism is increasing and the season extending, this seems a strange decision and suggests that VisitScotland are relinquishing responsibility to rural areas. I wrote to Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, and asked her to intervene following closure of the Lochboisdale office. I have again written to her, following the latest closures, seeking her intervention to change this decision.” A year-round visitor information centre remains in Stornoway with a seasonal office in Tarbert but Mr MacNeil expressed concern for the future of these offices also, given the closures elsewhere.