By: Bruce (offline) Wednesday, 27 February 2008 (Read 45822 times)
The BBC website announced today that a cheap island ferry plan is launched which doesn't include Islay and other important tourist destinations in Scotland such as the Orkneys. This could lead to a stagnation in tourism growth on Islay due to the cheaper fares to other islands such as the Western Isles.
I've already replied to this on the weblog, but to start the discussion off in the forum I thought I'd repeat my comment here:
The whole "Road Equivalent" idea sounds great, but it should be for all locations (not just a select few)... after all who would want to continue to pay to get to Islay, when they could get to Lewis for a fraction of the price? Before you answer that question you have to consider the general tourists, not just the Islay lovers... and to be honest I would have come under the "general tourist" banner as if this scheme had been in place a couple of years ago when I went to Islay, Jura, Mull, etc then I would have also gone to the Outer Hebrides... or maybe I would have given Islay, Jura, Mull, etc a miss!
So from the tourist point of view its great (for some), but where does it leave the ferry operators (or in this case CalMac)? The increased traffic this scheme is likely to bring will probably not allow them to operate at the same levels as they do now as I think (at least initially) they won't be taking in as much money... especially on the routes where this scheme isn't introduced! Its a vicious circle really and I guess only time will answer any questions people have!
I'd be interested to here what everyone else thinks!
Bruce, I think you are very right when you say that (some) people will take the "cheap route" and visit the Western Isles instead of other islands that have more expensive ferry routes. I already think the prices are way too high. I already mentioned before the difference between a trip from Rotterdam to Hull on a luxury ferry cruiser for 300 pounds and compare that to the 120 pounds I pay to get the same car and two passenger from Kennacraig to Islay. But then again you get the chance to eat chips and pasta on the Calmac ferry
And when you realise that Calmac is heavily supported by the government and loses thousands, or is it millions, of pounds on most routes you really think there is something very wrong. The ferry tender was a big joke and they should try and get more competitors on these routes offering better services for a lower price.
I'm not sure if a RET is the solution although it will make life a lot cheaper and the islands therefore more interesting to live on and visit to. In the end the money has to come from somewhere and by introducing RET the prices will be so low that the tax payer will have to cough up the bigger losses. But that wouldn't hurt the foreign tourists though
Those who want to visit Islay will do so regardless of "cheap ferry plans". What is really going to hurt Islay and other islands, and most of Scotland, are the exhorbitant prices charged for food and lodging. Our three week trip last June cost us C$12,000. Out of this sum, our air fare return to Vancouver/Kelowna was C$1300 and our rental car was C$800 for 10 days. The rest of the funds went into the local economy. You really have to love Scotland to spend that kind of money, don't you think? And we stayed in average places and ate in average eateries. I would love to visit the Outer Hebrides but the price may be too prohibitive.
I think that there are many reason to visit an island than another...
I am also interested to other island to visit, for example Shetland or Orkney.
Some people will prefer one to another due to the cheap fare, but the ones interested on specific aspect of the place don't care about this.
I'm not rich at all.
On Islay, the last year i was stayed only for a week, that it's too few days to enjoy well, but with the opportunity to go in another place for more days at the same cost it's no difference for me.
Islay it's the choose.
The next time i want spend almost a day on Jura in example...
I agree with Ron.Only the time answer.
A low fare increase traffic on a route, not necessary de-crease another...
And yes Bruce, one should feel totally ripped off but we don't for you see we were aware of the total cost before leaving Canada. I really don't know where we could have cut corners to reduce costs especially since this was our first trip. When a B & B is 40 to 50 poonds per night PER PERSON (that's 160 to C$200/night) for a small room, costs add up quick. I didn't mention that our 6 day bus tour cost C$3200 all inclusive. I don't want to give the impression that we were ripped off. But I do feel that there is a wee bit of overcharging going on when one has to pay 10 poonds(or more) for two pots(small) of tea and two scones. Had we been concerned about costs, the holiday would have been ruined. We will have many great memories of our trip and likely will return......and pay.
I don't know where you stay on Islay.
But i can say you that the last year i spent 25 pound per night per person for a good room with with private bathroom, well cleaned, comfortably, in Port Ellen, with a wonderful breakfast (only one day i can finish really all on table, and you can choose many kind of dishes from a menu...).For dinner i spen not more than 25 Â£ (but i eat deer not a simple cow...)
I can suggest to you, if you return to Islay to choose better the accomodation and believe that in many place on Islay the tea are offered, as in example at Persabus Pottery...
The Maggie is one of Ealing studios lesser known comedies. A wily old skipper of a Western Isles 'Puffer' and his motley crew lead all who come into contact with them a fine old time! Many scenes on Islay!