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We need to act now

I would like to congratulate Hans Marter on his End of boom reveals economic weaknesses piece (SN, 14/05/2018).

It has been obvious to me for the last couple of years that Shetland has glaring weaknesses, which have been masked for decades by the oil and gas effect.

The fishing and seafood sector appears to be doing well, but there is still major opportunity. Shetland mussels appear on the menus of leading restaurants in London and around the world, but our amazing scallops, crab and lobster do not have the same name recognition for outstanding quality. The same goes for our fabulous lamb.

The tourism sector remains very patchy, with some notable exceptions.

I suspect that many of the hotels must be suffering badly, because they have relied on oil and gas visitors, without catering for tourists.

Restaurants, too, are probably suffering, but it is encouraging to see new food establishments opening in town.

We need a serious tourism strategy, and investment. We also, of course, need airfares to be subsidised down to acceptable levels.

It is my personal belief that Shetland has the opportunity to become a serious player in the textiles sector. There are some successful, but small, players. Again, we need strategy and investment.

It is not too late to get it right, but we need to act now. SIC, HIE and others need to develop a serious Shetland strategy.

Alan Skinner
Cullivoe
Yell

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