Scotland’s islands enjoy tourism boom

Leverburgh on Harris. Picture: Donald MacLeod
Leverburgh on Harris. Picture: Donald MacLeod
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They are some of Scotland’s most spectacular locales that are proving increasingly popular with holidaymakers who realise there is no need to jet off to foreign climes in order to enjoy unspoilt beaches and stunning vistas.

Accommodation providers on some the nation’s best-known islands have reported a boom in bookings for the first six months of 2016.

The spike in interest suggests tourists are turning their backs on traditionally popular overseas holidays in favour of a staycation.

As a result of the demand, people who have second homes on Scotland’s islands are looking to cash in by turning their properties into self-catering accommodation, according to the letting company behind the research.

It shows that the Isle of Arran has experienced the largest jump in interest, with booking figures for the Firth of Clyde outpost up by 46 per cent in the first five months of this year compared to the same period in 2016.

Bookings for holiday homes on Skye jumped by 44 per cent, while around the country, there was a 25 per cent increase, according to Cottages & Castles.

Sue Bourne, the firm’s manager, said: “The Scottish isles are renowned for their unique character, dramatic landscapes and some of the most stunning beaches around, so it’s no surprise that holidaymakers are drawn to them in large numbers.

“We have had more second home island property owners join our portfolio this year who have recognised the increasing demand from visitors keen to enjoy the delights of a Scottish island holiday.

The company, part of the property consultancy, CKD Galbraith, said the allure of island getaways meant that many families were looking to stay in Scotland for their break rather than head abroad.

Ms Bourne added: “Our bookings in this segment of the market have risen considerably this year as a result of more families and couples choosing to explore the beautiful holiday destinations that Scotland has to offer.”

The latest accolade will likely encourage other people with holiday homes on desirable islands to set up their own self-catering accommodation.

On Arran, there are around 800 properties are listed as second homes, more than 20 per cent of all those on the island.

The significant increase in bookings and interest among tourists travelling to the island for a break is the second major boon for the island in as many months.

In June, it pipped the likes of Santorini and Capri to be named the best in all of Europe for accommodation, thanks to its glowing hotel reviews on the travel website, Trivago.