Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Wednesday) reinforced the urgent need for RET to be introduced on Orkney’s ferry routes.
During Portfolio Questions, Mr McArthur highlighted concerns from Destination Orkney that a continued lack of access to cheaper ferry fares posed additional challenges to the local tourism sector and put tourism businesses at a competitive disadvantage compared to those operating in island communities on the west coast.
In response, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Fiona Hyslop MSP said that she regularly made the case for improved ferry operations to support growth in the tourism sector and would reiterate concerns about the delay to introducing RET to the Transport Secretary.
Following the exchange, Mr McArthur commented:
“Orkney is fortunate in having a strong tourism sector and a growing reputation as a world class tourist destination. This is credit to local businesses and all those involved in a sector that has the ability to touch all parts of the community.
“Nevertheless, as Destination Orkney has pointed out, the continued delay to implementing RET on our ferry routes is presenting challenges to the sector, putting businesses at a competitive disadvantage compared to counterparts on the west coast.
“The Tourism Minister acknowledged the extent to which a thriving tourism sector depends on good ferry connections. That means ensuring that Orkney routes have access to cheaper ferry fares like routes on the west coast. It also requires replacement of the internal ferry fleet with one that is fit for purpose.
“I welcome Ms Hyslop’s offer to reinforce this message with the Transport Secretary. I hope he will listen and act, not just in the interests of our tourism sector but the wider Orkney community”.