A tourism leader has said the absence of an announcement about the route-map for the Scottish islands has cost millions of pounds in cancellations. 

Rob McKinnon, chief executive of Outer Hebrides Tourism, said that three weeks since after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the timetable for mainland travel to resume on April 26 there has yet to be a statement on the islands reopening and the uncertainty is costing business.

After the first two reopening statements did not reference an opening date for the islands it "triggered a wave of cancellations from visitors".

Mr McKinnon said they had expected an announcement today again but islands firms are still waiting for an update on when they can reopen.

READ MORE: Anger in Scottish islands over Sturgeon plan

He said: "In some ways, it is easier to fight a policy you disagree with. This is simply an absence of policy.

"If this continues much longer, the Scottish Government's decision will be irrelevant - people will have taken decisions - both those visiting and those working in businesses - and will have opted for options on the mainland.

"The problem is that people much later in the season may cancel, due to the uncertainty, when it is not necessary, so in many ways this situation is worse than a delayed opening."

HeraldScotland: The Islands firms were poised for an announcement today.The Islands firms were poised for an announcement today.

"In the Outer Islands, we surveyed our members which indicated around £2m of cancellations and rising.

"Each three week closure is around 10% of our season foregone, which cost a further £8m.

"We estimate we have already lost 100-200 jobs so far, but if the season becomes too short, this just risks this figure exploding. We had a third of our businesses say they were uncertain they could survive the season."

Marc Crothall: Local support key to tourism revival

HeraldScotland: Marc Crothall, of the Scottish Tourism AllianceMarc Crothall, of the Scottish Tourism Alliance

Opinion: In a few weeks’ time, the majority of Scotland’s tourism businesses will open their doors for the first time in months to welcome people like you and me; people whose idea of a “day trip” has been a frenetic Supermarket Sweep-style essentials grab, in between Zoom calls and home schooling.

READ MORE: I should offer thanks here to my children who have been enormously forgiving of more than an occasional oddball meal cooked by Chef Crothall. They won’t remember it.

'Monster opportunity' as 19-acre Loch Ness site goes on sale for £2m

HeraldScotland: The park itself has around 300m of loch frontage.The park itself has around 300m of loch frontage.

A caravan and camping site on the shores of the world-renowned Loch Ness is on sale for offers of over £2 million.

READ MORE: Loch Ness Shores is set immediately adjacent to the waters on the east side of the loch - famed for having its own legendary monster, Nessie. Coming in at 18.9 acres, it is one of only three locations with direct access to the loch.

Brewer hails first post-Brexit export deal - with Dutch supermarket operator

HeraldScotland: The deal could see Bellfield beers distributed across further Albert Heijn branches.The deal could see Bellfield beers distributed across further Albert Heijn branches.

The head of a Scottish microbrewery has praised the “dogged determination” of staff in overcoming Brexit challenges after landing an export deal with a Dutch supermarket operator.

READ MORE: Bellfield Brewery, the gluten-free specialist brewery, has successfully shipped its first order to Albert Heijn supermarkets in Netherlands.

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