SkyeConnect Volunteer Directors
We are currently in the process of appointing additional directors from a wide variety of expertise, backgrounds and locations on to help drive our community forward.
SkyeConnect involvement has provided us with an immeasurably positive impact during the recent crisis facing businesses. I’ve felt a true sense of support and comradeship especially at this time when we face such a huge common enemy. Together we will succeed in overcoming the biggest hurdle of our lifetime and deal with local issues collectively until each is resolved.
The biggest challenges facing Skye at the moment are pandemic related in terms of employment and business survival. Both are crucial for the continued success of tourism on Skye. We must improve the opportunities of young families who wish to continue living and building a career here. The overcrowding of the iconic sites must also be addressed initially by improving the information available to visitors and then improving facilities and infrastructure.
The biggest risk to livelihoods on Skye at the moment is mainly the winter drop off in business when regular seasonality kicks in. There has been no summer season to store reserves for the winter. That is the greatest problem. It is also hugely important to protect the island culture and language that we are so privileged to enjoy here on Skye.
The key benefits of becoming a member are mainly that the voice of the industry on Skye is taken seriously as it is coming from a group rather than individuals. Lobbying becomes so much easier to gain results. Information sharing and best practice ideas are key to promote confidence in such unusual times. Interaction with industry colleagues is paramount to enable close working relationships and business ideas exchanged.
There are some tough times ahead as our fragile economy on Skye recovers from the economic impact of COVID. The existence of a membership organisation for Skye with a strong voice, that actively represents its members has never been more important than now.
We must all come together to effectively put pressure on the government and local authority to protect our island livelihoods, culture and landscape.
Our communities need support, in particular, to cope with visitor behaviour that impacts negatively on the island and its people. The biggest challenge for Skye is building a diverse economy, with the tourism economy playing its part; an economy that can keep young people on the island and give them the opportunities and quality of life. Our legacy must be that of a well-managed visitor destination where the culture and heritage are celebrated and our local people supported and secure.
We face the huge challenge of providing the required tourism infrastructure that can accommodate the incredible interest our island generates. From public toilets and superfast broadband to ensuring quality information is readily available to help our locals and visitors have the best experience of Skye.
Gary is General Manager and Director of Skye’s Sligachan Hotel & Seumas’ Bar. The business has been in his wife’s family for over 100 years.
Gary is an Entrepreneurial Scotland Saltire Fellow and was chosen to complete their 6 month Saltire Fellowship Programme which took him to study at Babson College, the top business school in the world for entrepreneurship.
Currently completing a masters in business at Strathclyde, Gary also brings professional experience from previous senior roles in sales management, marketing, creative industries and hospitality.