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Business / Local tourism study to get underway

Photo: Shetland News

A SHETLAND-wide assessment of tourism services will begin next week to explore how the sector is faring in the coronavirus pandemic.

Local company Island Vista was selected by Shetland Tourism Association (STA) during a recent tender process to carry out the assessment.

Businesses will be contacted by Island Vista staff from Monday 10 May and they will be asked to complete an initial online questionnaire, which will be followed up by a telephone interview.

As well as providing an overview of available service provision, this work is also intended to provide a support mechanism for businesses.

Those who are seeking guidance or support to re-open will be signposted to appropriate resources.

It has been an extremely difficult time for the tourist industry over the last year. However, with all travel reopening late last month, there is some much-needed optimism returning.

Shetland Tourism Association chairwoman Emma Miller said: “This research will be extremely valuable to the industry as we look to recover from the prolonged restrictions imposed by Covid.

“It’s important that we know what services Shetland has to offer, and that we identify gaps in provision or opportunities for the industry. This is as much about helping businesses and making sure they have access to support as it is about gathering the data.

“I’d encourage everyone who is contacted to engage with the project so we can work together to recover our industry and economy.”

Tour guide and Island Vista partner Jolene Garriock added: “Island Vista are delighted to have been awarded the contract to conduct the Shetland tourism services assessment on behalf of the STA.

“As we all know, the pandemic has really knocked the tourism industry, both locally and the world over. This is an important piece of work, which will not only help support the tourism industry as they work towards a successful restart but also to assure the local community that tourism businesses are taking all necessary precautions to restart safely and for the benefit of the community.”

The team will be contacting businesses in groups throughout the coming months, so not all tourism businesses will hear from them immediately.

Anyone who has recently opened a new tourism related business is encouraged to send their contact details to survey@islandvista.co.uk to ensure they are included.