Welcome to Skye – we hope you’ve booked

People living on Skye are feeling frustrated. 

This summer the number of holidaymakers visiting the island has gone through the roof. 

Normally that would be a cause for celebration in a place that relies so heavily on tourism. 

But Skye’s roads and car parks are struggling to cope, especially at the top attractions. 

Recent appearances in Hollywood films such as the BFG is just one of the reasons more and more people are choosing to come here. 

The island has been in Scotland’s top 5 destinations for years. 

There are videos on social media of camper vans lining roads and causing long queues.  

In Portree there are tailbacks along the pier up the hill into the town centre. 

But the most obvious sign of an area that’s reached breaking point is at the community centre where people are preparing to bed down for the night in any corner they can find. 

Most are campers who have been forced to seek shelter after days of torrential rain, but with no hotels or guest houses available they have ended up here.

They’re grateful for a chance to dry off and rethink their plans. 

This is a short term solution to a problem that has been growing over the past few years, and now is coming to a head. 

Locals complain about lack of investment in infrastructure which is now losing them business. 

Down at the pier Stardust Boat trips are preparing to take another group of tourists out to see the island’s wildlife. 

But they know many of those booked won’t make it because they’ll be stuck in traffic on the road to Portree. 

‘No vacancy’ signs are almost a permanent fixture on hotels and guest houses. Some have even had people so desperate for a roof over their heads they’ve offered to pay to sleep on sofas in reception. 

One hotelier told me police were turning people back on the day of the local Highland Games unless they had already booked somewhere to stay. 

But while that may sound positive for the hospitality trade there is a longer term concern. 

There’s a fear that visitor experiences will mean Skye loses its long held status as a top tourist destination.  

The people who live on Skye all year round face a dilemma: while relying on tourists for their livelihoods, many are frustrated at the numbers arriving when the island can’t cope with the cars and campervans that cross the bridge and come off the ferries. 

It’s one thing flagging up the problem. Dealing with it without detracting from the reasons so many people want to visit Skye is far more tricky. 

You can watch our report here


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