The Isle of Skye will soon have its own tourism taskforce similar to that of the North Coast 500, the Scottish Government have announced.
At today's (Friday 3 November) tourism summit arranged by Skye's constituency MSP Kate Forbes, the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Fiona Hyslop will tell 130 delegates that the new strategic group will aim to secure a "successful and sustainable future" for the industry.
It is understood that the tourism taskforce will be led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise representatives, and will also include officials from Visit Scotland and Police Scotland as well as from local businesses and communities in the area.
The need for a co-ordinated approach to tourism management has become increasingly evident this summer, with some of the roads and facilities around the island's major attractions coming under significant strain with a six-fold increase in the population during peak months.
Kate Forbes MSP, who invited Fiona Hyslop to visit the island on a fact-finding mission, welcomed the news.
The constituency MSP for Skye said: "Following months of meetings and extensive consultation with residents, businesses and key strategic partners, it's clear that Skye needs a co-ordinated plan to help improve tourism infrastructure across the island.
"I'm very pleased to see the Scottish Government is listening to our concerns, and whilst the implementation of this taskforce doesn't immediately solve all of our problems, it is a step forward.
"The problems of congestion, lack of toilets and conservation of our fantastic natural environment are well documented, and we need to be as ready as possible for next summer."
Kate Forbes MSP added: "I firmly believe Skye is the jewel in the crown of Highland tourism – as evidenced by the huge growth in visitor numbers.
"The Cabinet Secretary has recognised the pressures on the island's infrastructure, and the need to make the visitor experience excellent so that they return.
"We have been very successful in attracting people to the area, with marketing campaigns and fantastic natural scenery.
"There is a clear need to bring together communities, businesses and public bodies to take things forward."
Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Fiona Hyslop said: "The new strategic taskforce's priority will be to assess the impact of tourism on Skye and to take action to ensure it benefits communities and businesses while providing the best possible visitor experience.
"I am pleased the group will include key public sector interests, alongside representatives from the industry and community.
"I am sure this collaboration and partnership working will help ensure a successful and sustainable future for tourism.
"We recognise the recent surge in interest seen by some of our tourism sites, particularly in rural locations. That is why we recently announced a new £6 million Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund.
"Alongside the Skye strategic group, the Scottish Government will continue to do all we can to support sustainable growth in tourism, working in partnership with local communities – in Skye, throughout the Highlands & Islands and across Scotland."