Visiting the Shetlands

By | Category: Travel destinations

The Shetlands are remote islands to many UK residents – or at least to those south of the border. The detective novels of Ann Cleeves (Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez) and the televising of those stories (Shetland) have led to a greater awareness of the islands and that has resulted – in part – to an upturn in tourism.

Last year some 73,000 tourists visited the island whilst 93,000 cruise ship passengers also had the opportunity visit the Shetlands even if it was for a very brief stop.

The local tourist association would like more of us to know the delights of the islands so that have developed a five year plan to encourage to visit and to those who go there, to spend more.  Last year visitors spent about £23.2 million in the islands. In five years’ time, the association would like that to have grown by another £10 million.

But it cannot be tourists at any price and nor will the climate attract those more fond of baking on a Spanish costa. The plan proposes “sustainable development” by which I imagine they want an increase but one that doesn’t conflict with those of the residents.

Tourists, sometimes, can overwhelm the main areas. Last July two cruise ships docked at the same time. Whilst that is not unusual on the day the two ships were the MSC Meraviglia and Europa 2 which, between the two of them brought over 7,000 people to the islands’ capital, Lerwick, that day. Given that the population is about the same, such numbers can place local resources at breaking point unless well planned so that such high numbers can be dispersed around the destination..

The attractions to the islands are opportunities to view the northern lights at certain times of the year, to enjoy the wildlife and the Viking heritage, the geology of the islands (which attracts school and university groups) and to visit location connected with the stories of Jimmy Perez.

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