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Working for the island we love

Mini Bite – from Alistair Danter – 31st May 2021

In Alistair's Mini Bite below you'll find information on Alistair Danter's work as Project Manager for SkyeConnect.


Scotland’s weather! In May 2020 we had over 20 days of temperatures over 20 degrees. So Far in May 2021 we have only managed 2 days of similar temperatures. Has anyone taken off their thermals yet? …….. but the primroses are out!

Despite the unseasonal weather, work continues apace at SkyeConnect HQ.

Enjoy stunning views, food and drinks on the lawn at the Cuillin Hills Hotel. Order everything to your table straight from your phone. Easy!

Quick Skip

HIE /HC Recovery Forum

HIE and Highland Council are now holding regional and local recovery forums. SkyeConnect attended the first Skye, Lochalsh, Lochaber and Wester Ross session earlier this month. The key takeaways were:

  • Confusion in the labour market where there are plenty of jobs and a lot of unemployed people but a disconnect between the two. Unemployment data is possibly being skewed with the continued inclusion of those on furlough in the stats. 
  • Housing and digital connectivity are seen as major issues for recovery.
  • Occupancy rates vary within and between accommodation sectors.
  • OTAs reporting high level of interest in accommodation across Highland but conversion to actual booking is slow.
Skye Ranger Service

It’s great to see a Ranger service, albeit seasonal just now, back in place on Skye.

This development started as a ‘hopeful project’ presented by Nic Bullivant at a Community meeting in January ’18 in Tigh na Sgire, progressed to a mini-enviro event in 2019 in Minginish Community Hall and through SkyeConnect representation at a Ward Member business meeting. Regular advocacy on the need for the service throughout 2020 as part of a wider Visitor Management strategy resulted in Highland Council creating an initial position for the 2021 season. 

Following consultations with Highland Council, SkyeConnect submitted a funding bid to Nature Scot for additional rangers for the service we now have 3 on Skye for this season. The service is coordinated on a regional level with Nature Scot, Police Scotland, VisitScotland and Highland Council and local level with DMOs throughout Highland. A report template for patrols records issues and actions taken. 

As part of the DMO grouping we will be meeting on a fortnightly basis with the service and will be able to report and discuss issues of concern. We are happy to take community concerns to the forum. Look out for the team. They will be badged up and driving Highland Council Ranger service vehicles.

Market intelligence on UK consumer sentiment

The latest intelligence indicates that ahead of the full re-opening of the economy, UK consumer sentiment has significantly improved, with 48% (a new high) believing that ‘the worst has passed’. However, less than half the population believes life will return to something close to normal this side of 2022. The vaccine roll-out continues apace. The proportion who are resisting or delaying receiving the vaccine is almost equal to those who want the vaccine as soon as possible. Full details can be seen here:


“Tune in to Tourism”

A few weeks back we reported on a couple of webinars that we had worked on with HIE and Lochaber Chamber / Outdoor capital of Scotland, as part of the “Tune in to tourism service” The entire series of 8 sessions can be listened to here:





The sessions include: ‘WELLBEING – Taking care of yourself and your staff’; ‘STAFFING – Dealing with a post-COVID and post-Brexit reality’ ; ‘THE BUSINESS OF RE-OPENING’ – Re-thinking your offering’ : ‘CUSTOMER BEHAVIOUR – Getting to know the new customer’; ‘RECONNECTION – Reunion travel, and thinking digital’ ; ‘EVENTS – Going hybrid, and embracing change’ ; ‘RESPONSIBLE – Caring for the environment, community and economy’ ; ‘RURAL and community tourism’ 

Brexit – The Scottish Enterprise “Prepare for Brexit” site will be retired later this year. Post Brexit support for EU matters can be found here:

Calling Coach and Tour operators

There is an opportunity to join a VisitScotland supported event on the 10th of June at 11am to learn how you can recover business from the UK coach market. Coach tour operators and wholesalers will share their years of experience and give advice and tips on how to work with them. They will discuss what they look for when contracting their Scotland tours and, in particular, the steps they’ve taken to deal with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. There will also be opportunities to hear from representatives from the Scottish industry as they share their best practice examples and learnings from working with the UK coach market.

Cross sectoral surveys

A number of our partner organisations are currently gathering information through online surveys. They will take between 5 and 10 minutes to complete. Thank you for your help!

FSB: Highlands & Islands Tourism & Hospitality Survey 




Sail Scotland:

Marketing Basics From Visit Scotland

And lastly, a “heads up” date for your diary. Tuesday 8th June 11 am We will be holding a “Marketing basics, post covid” sessions. It’s an online training session relevant to all sectors delivered by Lee Inkster, VisitScotland Business Manager, Orkney. Zoom link to follow.

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