TWO friends of mine arrived on Saturday evening for a week’s holiday. They have never been to Shetland before and were very excited about it. They settled into their accommodation and got up on Sunday, looking forward to exploring the town.
When I rang them about twelve o’clock on Sunday, they were very bemused by the fact the shops were all closed. Not only that, they couldn’t find a café open to have a coffee, or to have lunch.
They were very keen to spend money. But no joy. In an era when tourist destinations all over the world are open to visitors on Sundays, Lerwick is well behind the times in its attitude to visitors.
I doubt if my friends were the only tourists in town on Sunday, and I’m gobsmacked that Lerwick businesses still haven’t cottoned on to the fact they should be open on Sundays to make the most of potential income from tourists. In fact if they opened on Sundays, Shetlanders might come into town as well for shopping.
I know business owners say it costs too much to open on Sundays but I think this is very short-sighted.
Over time, I think opening on Sundays would prove worthwhile economically for those businesses and for Shetland, at a time when tourism needs to be encouraged due to the departure of hundreds of oil and gas plant workers.
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