IT is the sunniest place in Scotland and welcomes thousands of visitors from across the world tempted by its pristine surfing beaches.

But islanders on Tiree have developed an imaginative scheme that has seen it avoid the problems of overcrowding and erosion that has affected many other Scottish islands caused by increased tourism.

In peak season, Tiree's population of about 650 more than doubles, putting a huge strain on its air and ferry services.

But the Inner Hebridean isle has banned all wild camping and all campervans must use specially constructed pitches which are situated on crofts across the island.

Motorhomes must be booked in advance and must pay a £13 fee to camp with the majority going to the participating crofter.

The scheme has proved controversial for some visitors but the scheme has helped prevent major damage to the fragile machair areas and overcrowding on the roads.

Now the Tiree Ranger service believes the scheme could be adopted across other islands which are suffering severe problems from a massive rise in visitor numbers.

Tiree Ranger Stephanie Cope said: "I'm not sure it would work on every island but it would certainly work on some.

"As a community, we recognise the appeal of freedom camping around the Hebrides and value the contribution that such visitors make to our rural economy.

"Under our current model for managing freedom camping visitors directly support the traditional crofting environment and way of life that prevails here.

"The fact that Tiree regulates Freedom Camping has been a source of consternation to some.

"However, in so doing, the island has successfully addressed a burgeoning conflict of land-use interests between the tourism industry, our agricultural sector and national conservation bodies. "

"The number of vehicle campers continues to rise annually, dispelling concerns that the management of freedom camping would act to reduce tourist revenue.

"Indeed, many of our guests choose to visit again and are rightly proud of their positive impact on our island home. "

The remote Hebridean island which has been dubbed the "Hawaii of the North" is becoming such a success it has left locals unable to get away to the distant mainland because of the crush of visitors.

Tiree's fame has spread around the world on travel and windsurfing websites, its summer sun, strong winds and huge waves winning rave reviews.

The most westerly of the Inner Hebrides, Tiree enjoys more sunshine than most of Scotland, and strong winds because of its exposed location.

Many of the island's new fans have been attracted by reviews on the internet.

Throughout summer a steady trickle of visitors arrives on a Sea Otter plane which brings 14 people, once-a-day to the island, though at times of high demand, a 34-seat Saab aircraft is operated by Loganair.

The ferry, which can carry 90 cars, sails every day to Oban but the trip takes almost four hours.

Figures show the number of motorhomes travelling to the islands has risen over the past decade and follows the introduction of a Scottish Government scheme to make island ferry fares more affordable.

The Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) was introduced to boost remote economies - and worked so well the number of cars on one route is up by more than 80 per cent.

But some ferry services are now struggling to handle the additional traffic and island communities are finding their infrastructure is groaning under the load of the additional visitors.

RET bases fares on the cost of travelling the equivalent distance by road and was introduced on the Western Isles, Coll and Tiree in October 2008, cutting fares by up to 55 per cent.

It was rolled out to Islay, Colonsay and Gigha in October 2012, to Arran in October 2014 and now covers every route.

But across the network, car traffic has increased by just over 25 per cent which is causing severe problems as locals struggle to book ferries and increased traffic struggles on mainly single track roads.

Western Isles MSP Dr Alasdair Allen recently wrote to Transport Minister Humza Yousuf calling for a motorhome levy to be introduced to help fund infrastructure improvements on the islands, which was rejected.

A campaign has also been launched by some islanders on Skye for government funding or a tourist tax to offset infrastructure problems.

Some business leaders have called for a tourist tax, a levy widely used elsewhere in Europe to pay for both tourist marketing and infrastructure.