Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed new figures which show the number of people working in tourism in the Western Isles increased by 22% in one year – with Scotland as a whole seeing an increase of 11%. 

The statistics produced by Visit Scotland show that tourism supports 1,100 jobs in the Western Isles, 10% of total jobs in the area.

Between 2014 and 2015, the number of people employed in the sector across Scotland grew to 217,000 – with the 11% increase in Scotland above the 4% rise in Great Britain as a whole.

Alasdair Allan commented: “At a time of great economic uncertainty is it great to see such a large increase in the amount of people employed in the Isles’ tourist industry. These figures underline the increasingly important role tourism has in the islands’ economy.

“While it’s easy for us to take where we live for granted, the Isles plays host to stunning scenery, diverse wildlife and one of the most welcoming and friendly cultures you could ever come across. We should not be shy to celebrate this and encourage more people to visit. 

“With this year being Historic Environment Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and Scotland ranking second in this year’s Rough Guides list of the best countries in the world to visit, tourism in the Isles has a very bright future.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Tourism is more than a holiday experience. It creates jobs and sustains communities in every corner of Scotland all year round and is at the heart of the Scottish economy.

“These fantastic new figures show that, from hotel owners to waiting staff, tourism really is the driving force for providing the jobs of today and tomorrow. They also demonstrate the industry’s commitment to the 2020 strategy – which aims to generate economic growth through tourism.”