The Visitor Information Centre (VIC) in Tarbert is not to close, says Outer Hebrides Tourism as it reiterates the plan for a year-round centre.

Following recent rumours of the closure of the Visitor Information Centre (VIC) in Tarbert causing unnecessary concern within the Harris community, Outer Hebrides Tourism (OHT) said it wants to make clear that it has not agreed to, nor does it support, the closure of Tarbert VIC.  

As part of a broader agreement with VisitScotland on the shape of future visitor information in the Outer Hebrides, OHT agreed that, from next season, Tarbert Visitor Information Centre (VIC) will operate as a partnership between VisitScotland and a local business in the current premises. We have been led to believe that this will operate on a year-round basis.  

The Outer Hebrides-wide plan tailors VisitScotland’s national plan to reflect our islands geography and the changing ways visitors now seek information.  To reiterate, the key elements of our plan for visitor information are:

  • Invest in enhancing the current provision in Stornoway by either relocating the current centre or refurbishing it
  • Renegotiate the lease of the current iCentre building in Tarbert to provide the opportunity to create new year-round retail and information partnership with local retail business
  • Create significant new information partnerships throughout the Uists, supported by a dedicated member of staff based seasonally in one partnership outlet
  • Roll out a network of Wi-Fi spots to businesses operating information provision
  • Develop new and enhanced information partnerships with partners and community outlets across the Outer Hebrides
  • Provide an appropriate presence for the Outer Hebrides in VisitScotland iCentres in key mainland locations such as Ullapool, Oban, Portree and Inverness
  • Promote, help recruit and monitor the effectiveness of the VisitScotland Visitor Information Partner (VIP) programme via a new partnership arrangement based on successful partnerships with VisitKelso and the NC500

“We ask VisitScotland to act promptly to end the confusion and rumours of the centre’s closure by establishing the agreement for the centre’s operation in 2019 as soon as possible,” OHT says.