Skye “must get its act together” to cope with number of tourists

Skye is “shooting itself in the foot” when it comes to catering for the thousands of visitors to the island every year.

Tourists who come without pre-booking accommodation find it almost impossible to find a bed during the busy summer months, with some having to sleep in their cars or on floors.

Others can’t find car parking spaces with the result that single track roads are often clogged up with vehicles including caravans and camper vans.

“Sustainable growth” needed to solve Skye tourist overcrowding

And public toilets are in very short supply, especially near many of the island’s attractions.

Gillian Glenwright, who owns the White Heather Hotel in Kyleakin, said: “The phone goes non-stop during the summer months with people looking for accommodation. Visitors from Europe or America usually pre-book, but people coming from this country just turn up and are shocked when they can’t find anywhere to stay. I’ve heard of people sleeping in cars or on someone’s floor.

“This is a beautiful island and people want to come here, which is great, but we are shooting ourselves in the foot. We don’t have the infrastructure to cater for so many visitors so many won’t come back.

“Someone told me that Skye is the second most popular tourist destination in Scotland next to Edinburgh, but we can’t cater for that level.”

Mrs Glenwright explained that many of her guests complain about the lack of car parking spaces and toilets on the island.

“We have got to get our act together and sort out the infrastructure on the island,” she added.

Skye’s MSP Kate Forbes is attempting to address the problem with a series of meetings beginning next month.

She said: “This year is going to be just as busy, if not busier, than last year. The question now is how we capitalise on the surge in tourism, rather than collapse under the pressures on infrastructure and amenities.”

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