Organisations involved in visitor management in Orkney have met in preparation for the easing of travel restrictions later this month.
The move follows the First Minister’s recent announcement that Mainland Scotland will move to Level Three on April 26, when current restrictions on travel to and from the county will be lifted.
Those involved included representatives of the local tourism industry, transport providers, Police Scotland, VisitScotland, Orkney Islands Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Dianne Riley Moore, chair of Destination Orkney Ltd, chaired the meeting.
“The group covers all aspects of visitor management in Orkney,” she said. “It was a very valuable exercise, with the transport providers updating us on forward bookings so we have a good idea in advance of capacity and need.
“This will allow us to put in place any extra facilities that may be needed - and to ensure guidance to visitors is readily available so they can enjoy a responsible holiday in Orkney.
“In addition, we want our residents to feel that they can welcome visitors with confidence as we move down the Covid restriction levels over the months ahead.”
Dianne added: “It was clear from the first meeting that we are fortunate that we don't have the significant issues that some of hot spots on mainland Scotland have had.
“But in the past, there has been a local problem from time to time – and we hope to prevent any recurrence of this.”
Hayley Green, the council’s Head of IT and Facilities, said:
“By working together, the agencies involved can make sure plans and arrangements are in place for visitor management when restrictions are lifted.
“We discussed some of the practical measures that will be required, such as advice for visitors on complying with Covid safety guidance to keep themselves and our community safe.
“I could also give reassurance that public toilets across Orkney are open, cleaned regularly and safe to use for visitors and local folk alike.”
The group will meet again over the weeks ahead.
VisitScotland is promoting responsible tourism through its Keep Scotland Special campaign, which includes a visitor pledge. More information is available here Sustainable & Responsible Tourism in Scotland | VisitScotland