Shetland Amenity Trust has lost its valuable £400,000 a year contract to promote the islands as a desirable place to live and work in.
The organisation, which runs a significant number of heritage and tourism projects across the isles including the refurbished Sumburgh Head visitor centre, has held the Promote Shetland contract for the last eight years.
Three staff working on the contract – including its manager Andy Steven – who also is the acting manager of the trust itself – will now be made redundant.
Amenity trust chairman Brian Gregson said he was “surprised and bitterly disappointed” by the decision, which they were informed of during a meeting with Shetland Islands Council’s head of development Neil Grant on Monday.
In a brief statement on Wednesday morning the council said none of the bids received met “the quality standards required”.
“Tenderers and those who had earlier expressed an interest in the contract were notified of the decision. The council will consider the options available to it as soon as possible,” the statement continued.
Mr Gregson said the amenity trust has declined the offer to run the contract for an additional three-month transition period starting on 1 August.
The current contract had already been extended by three months until 31 July to accommodate a late tendering process.
He said the organisation had been confident it had done everything it had been asked for “and more” to raise the profile of Shetland globally.
“Trustees are deeply disappointed by this decision which will undoubtedly undermine Shetland’s efforts to promote our islands as a desirable place to live, invest, work and visit. It will seriously damage tourism and other industries,” Gregson said.
“As a trust we bid for the contract and we didn’t get it. We have not been given very satisfactory reasons as to why.”
Neither development committee chairman Alastair Cooper nor his deputy Stephen Leask could be contacted for comment.