THOUSANDS of free ferry tickets are being given away to encourage more tourists to visit Scotland’s islands.
Two weeks ago Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides was named the top island in Europe and in the top five in the world by the influential travel website, TripAdvisor. And two other Scottish islands - Mull and mainland Orkney - also featured in the European islands top ten.
In a new initiative involving VisitScotland and ferry operators Caledonian MacBrayne and Serco NorthLink Ferries, a total of 8,000 free trips will be on offer to islands such as Orkney, Shetland and the Western isles as part of the Year of Homecoming celebrations.
Martin Dorchester, the managing director of CalMac, said: “We received a lot of positive feedback from participants from last year’s Big April Adventures and are delighted to team up with VisitScotland again for this initiative.
“Scotland’s islands offer something for everyone and we look forward to welcoming visitors on board for their trip to a brilliant island.”
Stuart Garrett, managing director of t Serco, said: “The history and culture of the Northern Isles is truly unique, so we are excited to welcome visitors onboard as they embark on their very own island adventure.”
Draws will be held over the next three weeks, with 8,000 one-month open return tickets to be given away. Winners will be drawn at random through a weekly ballot on 12, 19 and 26 March and winners will receive a pair of adult tickets to the island of their choice within 14 days of the closing date.
The tickets will be valid for outbound travel from 15 April until 31 October.