McArthur highlights tourism sector concerns about high travel costs

Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur has today (Wednesday) highlighted with Scottish Ministers concerns raised by the tourism sector in Orkney about the impact of high travel costs.

During Portfolio Questions, Mr McArthur reiterated the frustrations felt locally by the continued failure to deliver RET and cheaper ferry fares on the Pentland Firth route. He added that Orkney’s tourism sector has also called for action over the high costs air travel, and asked the new Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Fergus Ewing, to engage with the Transport Secretary and Loganair about ways of reducing air fares.

In response, Mr Ewing recognised that high travel costs is a serious issue in Orkney and agreed to raise the matter with the Transport Secretary.

Following the exchange, Mr McArthur commented:

“Orkney continues to be widely recognised as a popular destination for tourists from across the UK and further afield. However, the sector has made clear that the cost of air travel, alongside the continued failure to deliver RET on Pentland Firth routes, is holding back efforts to open up opportunities for those who want to visit and experience what Orkney has to offer.

“Orkney’s local economy relies on investment generated from tourism, which in turn relies on accessible and affordable transport links. This reality was acknowledged by the Tourism Secretary.

“With Loganair rolling out newer, larger aircraft over the coming months, there is an opportunity to look at how fares might be reduced. I welcome Fergus Ewing’s agreement to discuss the matter with the Transport Secretary and engage in discussions with Loganair about the options available.

“This is a positive step forward and I look forward to supporting efforts to help make our lifeline air services more affordable and therefore more accessible.”

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