Concern over closure of tourist information centres

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Visit Scotland has been accused of ‘relinquishing its responsibilities to rural areas’ following the announcement that Tourist Information Offices in Lochmaddy and Castlebay are to close.

This follows on from last year’s closure of the Lochboisdale office and means that there is now no Visit Scotland presence in Uist and Barra – the 70 mile stretch from Vatersay to Berneray.

Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil said: “I am very disappointed at Visit Scotland’s decision to close the tourist information centres in Lochmaddy, Isle of North Uist and Castlebay, Isle of Barra. Following the closure of the information centre in Lochboisdale last year this means that there is no Tourist Information centre in Uist and Barra

“At a time when tourism is increasing and the season extending this seems a strange decision and suggests that Visit Scotland are relinquishing responsibility to rural areas.

“I wrote to Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs and asked her to intervene following closure of the Lochboisdale office and I have again written to her following the latest closures seeking her intervention to change this decision. ”

A year round Visitor Information centre remains in Stornoway with a seasonal office in Tarbert but Mr MacNeil expressed concern for the future of these offices also given the closures elsewhere.