"Loss of commission is worrying for Orkney tourist sector", says McArthur

NorthLink Ferries Serco Ltd have this week confirmed to Mr McArthur that they are due to withdraw commission to travel agents and tour operators on their standard fares as of July 1st 2016.

Concerns have been raised with Mr McArthur by those within the local tourism sector that this move could push up costs and reduce the willingness of some agents and operators to promote Orkney as a destination.

Orkney Tourism Group, who are preparing a paper to feed into the tendering process for North Isles Ferry Service, have confirmed plans to meet with NorthLink this week at the VisitScotland Expo in Edinburgh. Mr McArthur has urged Northlink to work closely with OTG to avoid anything that might reduce the competitiveness of Orkney's vital tourism sector.

Commenting, Orkney Liberal Democrat candidate Liam McArthur said:

"At a time when we should be working together to develop and promote Orkney's unique tourist sector this news is certainly worrying.

"I would hope that no final decisions will be taken before proper consideration is given to their impact. Northlink have indicated to me a willingness to listen closely to the concerns that OTG and individual operators have expressed. I welcome the fact that further discussions are now due to be held this week at the VisitScotland Expo in Edinburgh.

"The continued exclusion of Orkney from the SNP Government's cheaper ferry fares scheme already puts Orkney's tourist sector at a competitive disadvantage compared to West Coast destinations. The last thing we need is for further costs to be added."


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