Skye issues plea for cash amid boom in Robert the Bruce tourism

The Isle of Skye is seeking government cash to help it cope with an expected Robert the Bruce tourism boom.

The period drama Outlaw King, starring Star Trek actor Chris Pine, launches on Netflix in November. Picture: Netflix

The period drama Outlaw King, starring Star Trek actor Chris Pine, launches on Netflix in November.

Tour firms are already marketing trips to three locations on Skye that feature in the film, but locals fear their infrastructure such as parking, toilets and motorhome facilities will be overloaded.

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Highland councillors yesterday said they needed a “special deal” from the Scottish and UK governments to claw back some of the money generated off-island by Skye’s booming economy. Three dramatic Skye locations feature in Outlaw King, which opens at the Toronto International Film Festival tomorrow and at the at the London Film Festival on 17 October. Highland Council’s tourism and film officer Colin Simpson told the Skye and Raasay committee in Portree yesterday that 2018 had been the biggest year ever for the north as a film and documentary location, rising from 198 shoots to 243, with a significant number in Skye.

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But Councillor Ronald MacDonald said: “We need a special deal for Skye. Businesses outside the island benefit significantly from tourism here, businesses in Inverness, the Central Belt and beyond.

“I suspect there’s a very significant increase in the tax taken out of this island over the last few years and this brings in the whole thing about imposing a tourist tax, which I would be against, because I believe some of that money should be returned to the island.

“There needs to be a really massive uplift in infrastructure throughout the island.”

Committee chairman John Finlayson said: “We have unique challenges and the infrastructure needs doesn’t just affect tourists, but locals also. Most government deals have been city deals. Maybe we need an island deal, such as the Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland are talking about.”

Mr Simpson said two thirds of tourism providers in a survey felt the figures were up on last year or similar.