It is an island normally teeming with 500,000 visitors a year attracted by stunning beauty spots like The Fairy Pools and The Storr.
But the results of a survey of business confidence on Skye, following the announcement of plans to re-open the economy, reveal another lockdown could seriously damage the industry.
More than 100 businesses from the hotel, self-catering, B&B, campsite, restaurant, arts and crafts, visitor attraction and outdoor activity sectors, took part in the survey with almost 70% saying they need a minimum of a 20-week season just to survive.
The survey by tourism destination organisation SkyeConnect also reveals that even with a good summer season, some sectors – such as hotels, restaurants, outdoor activities and visitor attractions – will need the furlough scheme extended through the winter if they are to avoid letting some staff go.
However, there does appear to be a degree of hope that sufficient holidaymakers will visit Skye this year – with 56% of respondents said they were confident of being able to generate sufficient income to justify re-opening.
The survey asked businesses about their reopening plans. The vast majority are planning to reopen in May, although many self-catering businesses are set to reopen in April.
The survey also revealed an eagerness to extend the traditional summer season into late autumn and even through the winter. The majority of businesses responding to the survey said they were either intending to stay open through the winter or considering the option of remaining open.
Chair of SkyeConnect, Dave Till, said the survey showed that the tourism industry cannot afford any further interruptions to trading.
He said: “Now that we have a clear roadmap to re-opening, businesses are starting to recruit staff and invest in being able to offer a covid-safe environment for visitors.
“We sincerely hope there will be no more lockdowns. Our industry needs at least five months of good trading conditions, just to survive.
“Beyond that, it is clear that government support will still be required through the winter months, otherwise we are likely to see a rise in unemployment.
“SkyeConnect will use the data from this survey to lobby the Government after the election to ensure our fragile island economy and its hundreds of small, family-run businesses get the support they need as we all navigate our way along the long road of recovery out of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
In January, the Scottish Government announced top-up grants for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses across Scotland closed by level 4 restrictions. The amounts ranged from £25k to £6k and were on top of the existing four-weekly payments from the Strategic Business Framework.
At the time, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said support for business had reached almost £3 billion at that point.
The First Minister confirmed yesterday that planned easing of coronavirus restrictions in Scotland is to go ahead.
As part of that, Scotland is on course to ease restrictions further, with cafes, restaurants, shops and gyms due to open from April 26 and more people allowed to meet up outdoors.