Portree's busy VisitScotland Information Centre (iCentre) is set for a facelift.
With the tourist season already underway the decision has been taken to refurbish the facility with work set to go ahead in early May and lasting about two weeks. During the enforced closure the centre's work will be transferred across the road to the Royal Hotel.
In an open letter to accommodation providers, local Industry Relationship Manager, Alan Mackenzie said: "I am delighted to be writing to inform you that following a very busy 2016, VisitScotland will be refurbishing the Portree VisitScotland Information Centre (iCentre) in early May in order to provide a fantastic new facility with new opportunities for visitors, locals and businesses during 2017 and beyond.
"With 151,000 people visiting Portree iCentre last year, we are committing to providing an iCentre that meets and exceeds users’ needs. The refurbishment is in keeping with our customer experience strategy and the iCentre will benefit from a complete internal redesign as well as refreshed VisitScotland branding – ensuring we are providing the optimal experience, information and inspiration at this much-used iCentre.
"We are seizing the opportunity to redevelop the site between the Easter period and prior to the busiest summer season. During the refurbishment we will temporarily relocate to a proximate and prominent location at The Royal Hotel on Bank Street.
"The refurbishment is hoped to increase the impact that the iCentre has on the visitor economy: encouraging locals and visitors alike to stay longer and spend more on Skye, across the Highlands and Scotland. Please read on for more details.
"The refurbishment will commence on 2 May and is forecast to take two weeks. During this time, the Portree iCentre will be located in the front entrance and guest lounge at The Royal Hotel on Bank Street. This is a prominent position, located very close to the iCentre in order to minimise disruption for visitors.
"From the iCentre, visitors simply need to walk through the car park and cross The Green (A855) road to reach the temporary site. Signage will be in place at the iCentre to provide directions.
"We will be providing our usual accommodation and ticketing services and there will be no impact on opening hours.
"We are very grateful to The Royal Hotel for agreeing to rent us this space and enabling our passionate staff to continue to provide visitors with quality information and inspiration on what to see and do from a nearby and accessible location.
"Our iCentres remain at the heart of VisitScotland’s visitor information delivery – we are focused on running the right centres in the right place, with the right look, at the right cost, employing the right people and delivering the right experience.
"The refurbished iCentre will allow us to deliver information to our visitors in a modern environment where they can choose from a variety of tools to help them see, do and spend more during their stay.
"Rapid developments in technology mean visitors are now using a range of channels to access information about Skye and Scotland. In line with this trend, we will be upgrading the iCentre’s digital facilities and providing free wifi. Insights have shown visitors prefer to use their own devices to access content and the free wifi provision enables this.
"The new layout will also include racking for literature, large scale wall graphics and local and national wall maps to help visitors plan their journey. New zoning is being introduced to assist visitors with finding everything they need.
"The iCentre will deliver quality information, inspiration and advice to visitors and offer information, tickets, accommodation bookings, gifts and souvenirs within a more contemporary and purpose built environment."