In response to recent rumours about the closure of the Visitor Information Centre (VIC) in Tarbert, which has been causing concern within the Harris community, Outer Hebrides Tourism (OHT) wants to make clear that it has not agreed to, nor does it support, the closure of Tarbert VIC.
As part of a broader agreement with VisitScotland on the shape of future visitor information the OHT agreed that, from next season, Tarbert Visitor Information Centre (VIC) will operate as a partnership between VisitScotland and a local business in the current premises. The OHT believes that this will operate on a year-round basis.
The Outer Hebrides-wide plan has tailored the VisitScotland’s national plan to reflect the islands’ geography and the changing ways visitors now seek information.
The key elements of the OHT plan for visitor information are:
Invest in enhancing the current provision in Stornoway by either relocating the current centre or refurbishing it
Renegotiate the lease of the current iCentre building in Tarbert to provide the opportunity to create new year-round retail and information partnership with local retail business
Create significant new information partnerships throughout the Uists, supported by a dedicated member of staff based seasonally in one partnership outlet
Roll out a network of Wi-Fi spots to businesses operating information provision
Develop new and enhanced information partnerships with partners and community outlets across the Outer Hebrides
Provide an appropriate presence for the Outer Hebrides in VisitScotland iCentres in key mainland locations such as Ullapool, Oban, Portree and Inverness
Promote, help recruit and monitor the effectiveness of the VisitScotland Visitor Information Partner (VIP) programme via a new partnership arrangement based on successful partnerships with VisitKelso and the NC500.
OHT has asked VisitScotland to act promptly to end the confusion and rumours of the centre’s closure by establishing the agreement for the centre’s operation in 2019 as soon as possible.