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Community / Increased interest in isles as place to live and work

St Ninian's Isle. Photo: VisitScotland

THERE has been a “massive upturn” over the last few months in the number of people looking into moving to Shetland as folk consider heading somewhere more rural, according to the chief executive of Shetland Islands Council.

Maggie Sandison told a meeting of the full council on Thursday that Promote Shetland has experienced a sharp rise in interest during the lockdown.

Promote Shetland is a service funded by the council which aims to attract people to the isles.

Sandison said there was a feeling that some people living in more built up areas had begun contemplating moving to areas with “more space and freedom” as working from home becomes more common.

This reflects what some local estate agents have been experiencing.

Managing director of Promote Shetland contract holders NB Communication, David Nicol, said the increased interest in the isles has been evident for a number of months.

“We’ve definitely seen increased interest in Shetland as a place to live and work over recent months,” he said.

“Interestingly, this trend started before the coronavirus pandemic, with a notable increase in subscribers to our ‘Living and Working in Shetland’ email newsletter in December and January.

“There is still plenty of interest from people keen to visit Shetland on holiday too, although obviously it’s not been possible to travel here over recent months.

“The value of tourism to Shetland increased by over 50 per cent between 2017 and 2019, according to the most recent Shetland visitor survey, and we are keen to see the sector return to and exceed 2019 levels as soon as possible.”