Island closed to visitors as tourism sector reopens

Islanders on Eigg in the Inner Hebrides have closed all self-catering, hostel and guest house accommodation.

Island closed to visitors as tourism sector reopens Getty Images

Residents on a Scots island are urging visitors to stay away as the tourism sector reopens up across the country.

Islanders on Eigg in the Inner Hebrides have taken the decision to close all self-catering, hostel and guest house accommodation, as well as its cafe and restaurant, until August 31 to discourage visits from overnight tourists, day trippers, campers, kayakers and sailors.

The community-owned island’s public toilets, showers and visitor attractions will also remain closed, while its shop will only be open to local residents as the fight against coronavirus goes on.

The 110-strong community said it had “agonised” over the decision, which was mainly taken due to limited capacity on ferries, as well as to protect its elderly and vulnerable residents.

Due to physical distancing measures put in place, the CalMac ferry to Eigg, Rum and Muck has just 40 spaces instead of the usual 190.

The islanders acknowledged that tourists would want to visit Eigg, but said they have to balance that with what they are able to do within Scottish Government guidance.

As lockdown eases, residents may wish to go to the mainland for hospital and other appointments, as well as to see loved ones.

Tradespeople may need to get to the island, while family and friends will also want to be reunited.

In a statement posted online, the islanders said: “We know many people want to come to Eigg this summer, but sadly, for the moment, we ask you not to come.”

They added: “As lockdown restrictions are lifted further and our ferry capacity changes, then so too will we. But none of us know when that might happen. 

“To help both us and you make plans, for the moment we are saying don’t expect us to be open again until the end of August.

“Visitors to Eigg bring many benefits to Eigg and we’re very grateful for your support.

“We look forward to welcoming everyone back to Eigg when all this has passed. Until then, follow advice, stay well and look after each other.”