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Skye’s Tourism Businesses Need a Minimum Season of 20 Weeks if they are to Survive

The results of a SkyeConnect survey of business confidence, following the announcement of plans to re-open the economy, reveal another lockdown could decimate the industry.

Over one hundred 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 twenty-week season to survive.

The survey 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 confidence that sufficient holidaymakers will visit Skye this year. 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, says the survey shows the tourism industry cannot afford any further interruptions to trading.

“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.”

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