Skye alongside Barcelona and Prague victim of “mass tourism”

Sightseeing tour of the Quiraing on the Isle of Skye (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The island of the Hebrides has been cited alongside Barcelona, ​​Amsterdam, Prague, Venice and Dubrovnik as an example of a much-loved destination ‘destroyed’ by vast volumes of influxing visitors.

Skye has been highlighted following its busiest summer ever, which has seen growing demand for improved infrastructure on Skye.

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A new Skye tourism body, formed to help the island cope with recent surges in visitor numbers, has warned there is no ‘magic wand’ to solve many of the problems caused by its popularity growing.

A study of over 30 different destinations for ecotourism guide Green Global Travel, which describes how mass tourism is ‘destroying travellers’ favorite destinations’, highlights Skye as ‘one of Scotland’s most popular destinations’ .

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The website says it has had “problems” in recent years as word has spread about its “many natural sights”.

He highlighted the problems caused by motorists “overflowing” car parks, residents finding their normal routes to work blocked, a drastic shortage of toilets and police warnings about turning up without booking a lodging.

The website blamed hit TV show Outlander, whose fans were encouraged to visit Skye because of its links to Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites, and pop star Harry Styles, who recently shot a video about Skye , for the recent boom.

Its analysis states: “Skye is second only to Lewis and Harris among the largest islands in Scotland.

“It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that there’s a wide range of things to do, with activities aimed at nature lovers, outdoor adventurers, foodies and families.”

“The problem is that during the peak summer months (June to September) there are too many tourists looking to explore the ‘Misty Isle.’

“Skye’s stellar beauty has spread, making it one of Scotland’s most popular holiday destinations.

“While this brings invaluable revenue to local businesses, it has proven problematic in terms of infrastructure and environmental impact.

“Responsible tourism in Skye is always possible. Allow yourself to think outside the box and support local businesses that give back to the community and act for the environment. Treat the island as if it were your home.

The Scottish Government and national tourism agency VisitScotland have pledged to act to address the problems caused by the growing number of visitors to Skye, which has featured in a number of high-profile films in recent years, including Prometheus, Macbeth and The BFG.

A new task force has been set up after local MSP Kate Forbes warned the island’s infrastructure was “creeping at the seams” at the number of visitors flocking there.

Malcolm Roughead, Managing Director of VisitScotland, said: ‘As you would expect, an increase in visitor numbers to Skye has put pressure on some of the island’s most popular attractions, with concerns over parking , lack of accommodation and environmental damage.

“We are aware of this and are actively listening and working with the industry on Skye to help alleviate these issues. However, we must also be careful not to deter visitors, despite the high season pressure points.

“Alongside local community efforts, we are working closely with a new destination management organization, Skyeconnect, to consider ways to alleviate these issues, encouraging visitors to come at different times of the year and promoting other lesser known ones. , but equally beautiful, attractions in the Highlands.

“These discussions illustrate the importance of tourism to Skye – and Scotland as a whole – and how important it is that infrastructure meets current and future demand.”

Alistair Danter, project manager for new tourism group SkyeConnect, said: “While no one can deny that the dramatic increase in visitor numbers to Skye over recent years has put a strain on the local infrastructure, many solutions rely on lengthy processes to ensure lasting solutions.

“You can’t just wave a magic wand at a specific site of scientific interest in a remote location that’s been grazed by crofters’ cattle for generations and turn it into a parking lot with restrooms, RV facilities and cell phone charging units.

“Public bodies and communities, along with our local MPs and MSPs, have worked hard over the past 18 months, and significant progress has been made to improve facilities at key locations such as Neist Point, the Fairy Pools and the Quiraing. These will be implemented in the months and years to come.

“The problem is that we live in a world where people want to get there faster and spend less time there.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The tourism boom our country is experiencing is great news.

“That means more jobs and investment, but it can also mean pressure on transport, services and facilities, especially in rural areas.

“We are committed to helping these communities and ensuring that Scotland continues to be a top tourist destination.”

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