ISLANDERS planning on heading south are being encouraged to book a place on the boat at the “earliest opportunity” as demand from tourists gets set to increase.
This is particularly pertinent because the capacity on the two boats serving the Northern Isles continue to be reduced from 600 to 335 to maintain social distancing.
Yesterday (Monday) all travel was reopened in Scotland, with the hope that it provides a shot in the arm to Shetland’s ailing tourist industry.
But with capacity on the ferries in the summer already a concern pre-pandemic, there is a reminder to islanders to book early.
Serco’s managing director for NorthLink Ferries Stuart Garrett told Shetland News: “As was evidenced during the March ZetTrans External Transport Forum, we anticipate that passenger numbers will increase over the coming weeks and months, particularly as we head towards the summer peak.
“Car deck and accommodation space remains available, but as always, we would encourage islanders to book at the earliest opportunity, particularly when we are still operating on a reduced capacity due to Covid-19 physical distancing requirements.”
Airline Loganair, meanwhile, is waiting until next week before ramping its timetable after running a skeleton schedule since Christmas.
From 3 May flights to Edinburgh will resume, with the Glasgow service restarting later in the month.
The tourist centre at Lerwick’s Market Cross also reopened yesterday, providing hope that things are slowly getting back to some level of normality after four months without non-essential travel to the mainland.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 440 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News