SkyeConnect, the new Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for Skye and Raasay, is delighted announce that funding for a full-time project officer has now been approved following its application for assistance from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
Formed in 2017 the organisation brings together the business and tourism industry in the islands, working with key stakeholders including the Highland Council, the Elected Members, Visit Scotland, the Scottish Government, Business Gateway and HIE together with community bodies and residents.
SkyeConnect welcomes the support of Kate Forbes MSP who has been a driving force to highlight the challenges and opportunities for tourism in Skye and Raasay, the second most popular visitor destination in Scotland after Edinburgh. SkyeConnect has been collaborating with other DMOs across the Highlands and Islands which included presentations at the first of a series of tourism forums held in June.
In the next few weeks an extensive recruitment process will commence to seek a high-calibre candidate to join SkyeConnect and its interim board to map the way forward to establish the company as an effective tourism and business hub representing the communities of Skye and Raasay.
Shirley Spear, interim chair SkyeConnect, added: SkyeConnect has been working hard with many partner organisations and community groups to create an organisation that aims to ensure a sustainable future for tourism in Skye and Raasay, in a continuing climate where ‘tourism is everyone’s business’. We are grateful to Highlands and Islands Enterprise for their financial support and to Faye MacLeod of Campbell, Stewart and Maclennan and Co. for her great work recently supporting SkyeConnect achieve this key milestone in its first year.
Councillor John Gordon, Elected Member for Eilean a' Cheò said: "SkyeConnect has worked hard to get to this place and we congratulate everyone involved, this is excellent news for our area and an important development in having a more strategic approach for Eilean a' Cheò.
"SkyeConnect and the Highland Council, along with other stakeholders work collaboratively to drive economic growth because of the vibrant tourism industry, to maintain sustainability and to ensure our infrastructure and visitor experience meets the needs of our expanding tourism, businesses and population."
Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, added: “After a busy summer, it’s great to see some progress on the tourism front. I commend HIE for the funding of a project manager and SkyeConnect for pulling together a plan of action. There is huge potential here and I’ll be supporting the new project officer and the SkyeConnect team.
"I’ve long said that what is lacking on Skye is a strategic plan for the future, and I have high hopes that this new project officer will be just the person to do it. This summer is evidence that we need a plan in place to make the most of tourism”.
Alison Gainsford, account manager at HIE, said: “SkyeConnect will assist in developing the tourism sector in Skye and bringing businesses and community groups together for the success of this vitally important sector of our economy. We are delighted to support the project officer post and we look forward to working with the group in the future.”