Am I alone in thinking that there is no joined-up thinking or action when it comes to the islands’ economic and commercial strategy. Just after a Welcome Scheme has been announced by the Stornoway Cruise Group, a ‘We Don’t want Tourists Here’ scheme was announced by councillor Peter Carlin.
One of the most popular venues on the Isle of Lewis, the Callanish Stones, is usually the first place parties of excited tourists are taken to on their short visits to the island. At this site not only stands a bunch of stones but also a very successful visitor centre which just happens to employ people and make money for the local economy.
Peter Carlin can’t see the fun in this at all and would much rather have a couple of 200ft wind turbines spoiling the sightseer’s day out. ‘They can look the other way’ he says, if they find the turbines offensive.
Tourism is a vital part of the island economy and it is not just for the benefit of the owners of B&B’s hotels and visitor centres. All these places need maintenance, services, staff, and local produce and, unlike the wind turbines, are already established and are gaining in popularity.
If Cllr Carlin and his mates must cover the islands in wind turbines, the tourists (and birds) will look the other way, without having to be instructed by him, and will also turn their backs on visiting the islands too. But perhaps that’s what he wants, a Gaelic version of Royston Vasey.
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