BUSTA House is hoping to use a fresh injection of public funding to become Shetland’s only four-star hotel.
The company has received a total of £194,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to upgrade the building and its website.
HIE said the project will enable 14 jobs to be retained, secure the hotel’s future through a winter of Covid restrictions and ensure it provides an even better service when it reopens for overnight stays and indoor dining.
Pre-Covid the hotel, which was built in 1588, had 80 per cent occupancy rate during the summer.
The pandemic had a devastating effect and the hotel was forced to close its rooms and diversify by offering a takeaway service due to restrictions.
The support from HIE includes £97,400 in working capital to support the company through the pandemic.
A further £90,000 investment from HIE will support the company to upgrade the hotel and provide anti-Covid-19 measures.
The business also received £6,375 through HIE’s digital enablement grant to help redesign its website, introduce an integrated online booking system and provide a gift purchase service.
Busta House Hotel co-owner Grant O’Neil said: “We truly appreciated the support from HIE.
“Without such help I feel that we would have been in an unavoidable position of having to close not only one of Shetland’s finest hotels, but also one of Shetland’s most historically important buildings.
“Thanks to HIE we have been able to continue to operate and offer our services to both the local community and to national and international travellers alike.”
HIE head of business growth Andrew Gear said: “Tourism is hugely important to the economy of Shetland. High value visitor accommodation is a vital part of the industry. It supports other local businesses, creates employment and contributes to community resilience.
“The upgrade of the Busta House Hotel will enable it to target the growing market of higher visitor spend. We are really pleased to support the project and look forward to the upgraded hotel reopening.”
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