Backers of an ambitious travel scheme aiming to boost island tourism hope it will be set up next year.
A project manager is being sought to lead the Scottish Islands Passport initiative, being led by Highlands and Islands Transport (HiTrans).
If successfully implemented, the proposal has the potential to help support lifeline transport services to the region’s most remote and fragile islands.
HiTrans claim the marketing tourism opportunities around the concept are endless, with incentives possibly being introduced for holders where they can get cheaper fares the more they tick off the islands.
The Passport could also be issued not only to tourists, but to everybody in Scotland to encourage them to visit as many as 80 inhabited islands over their lifetime.
The project is supported by the Scottish Government and HiTrans officers have engaged with a range of partners, including local authorities, VisitScotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, ZetTrans and various other stakeholders including island marketing organisations to get the ambitious scheme off the ground.
HiTrans is looking to recruit a full-time islands-based project manager who will be responsible for implementing a detailed project plan that will include the development of both a physical and online App-based versions of a Scottish Island Passport that is capable of appealing to different markets and demographics.
The work undertaken during the 18-month contract will be overseen by a project steering group consisting of several key stakeholders including those who have shown their commitment to the project by providing the match funding to support the application.
The intention is to develop the Scottish Island Passport to coincide with Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters in 2020.
A key element of the project will be to establish a sustainable revenue model that will enable the Passport to thrive and develop beyond the timeframe of the project, which is supported by the EU Leader Programme.
HiTrans director Ranald Robertson said: “Scotland’s islands are known for their beauty and wealth of history and culture.
“This is showcased across the individual islands through world heritage sites, nature reserves and protected landscapes, listed buildings, museums, galleries and performing arts.
“To build on this, HiTrans is recruiting the post of project manager – Scottish Islands Passport, who will be responsible for the development and implementation of a scheme which will promote all that the Scottish Islands have to offer and develop sustainable economic opportunities in each island, and in particular those less well known or more remote.”