An island’s infrastructure is not able to cope with the growing number of visitors it receives each year.
Local residents and businesses claim the lack of toilets and car parking spaces on Skye are among the main areas of concern.
Gillian Glenwright, owner of the White Heather Hotel in Kyleakin, said: “We don’t have the infrastructure to cater for so many visitors and, as a result, many won’t come back.
“Lots of people want to visit the Fairy Pools. It is quite a long walk to get there – but there are no toilets. One of my guests went to visit Neist Point lighthouse and said there was no car park or toilets there. Others complain about the number of camper vans parking along the side of single track roads and clogging them up.”
But at an event in Portree yesterday, organised by Skye’s MSP Kate Forbes, representatives from public bodies including Highland Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, HIE, community councillors, representatives from businesses on the island as well local people met at the Aros Centre to discuss the major concerns.
Ms Forbes said: “One of the urgent issues is lack of parking, but the trouble is nobody planned ahead 10 years ago.
“What is needed is money and someone or some organisation to be responsible for delivering what is necessary. We also need a plan for extra parking on the island.
“I asked everyone to write down their ideas so we can start to build a strategy for the years ahead.”
Guest speakers, Carron Tobin, development manager for the Argyll & The Isles Tourism Co-operative and Graeme Ambrose, chief executive of VisitInvernessLochNess, VILN, spoke about how they dealt with similar problems.
Ms Forbes added: “They are both quite a few years ahead of us in dealing with the situations we are faced with on Skye, but they both stressed that collaboration is the key and if different bodies work together to get things done, it does spread the load.
“Unfortunately there is no magic wand to wave to solve all the pressures on the island as tourism continues to grow each year. But one idea would be to encourage people to visit different parts of the island that are not so busy with tourists and also to visit at different times of the year.
“But I thought the meeting was very positive and a second one will be held after the summer, probably in September.”