Motorhome and campervan tourists are worth £2 million per year to the Western Isles
economy, according to a survey.
The study conducted this summer by Outer Hebrides Tourism (OHT) found that motorhome
visitors spent an average of just under £500 per trip on food, drink, fuel, goods,
arts, crafts and meals with businesses in the Outer Hebrides.
The survey which was undertaken daily over a five week period debunks the widely
held myth that visiting motorhomes clog up ferry space while contribute nothing to
the local economy.
Critics say that they stock up on food and fuel on the mainland to avoid spending
money in the islands.
An interviewer spoke to tourists in campervans and motorhomes waiting to depart the
islands at the Stornoway ferry terminal.
Questions included where they came from and their length of stay in the Western Isles.
They were also asked how much they spent on their island trip and where they spent
Feedback was also sought on what they did and did not like during their holiday.
Motorhome visitors spent an average of seven days in the Outer Hebrides.
Over 60% of nights were on organised campsites, paying fees to local operators shows
Motorhome vehicles on the ferry to and from the Outer Hebrides constitutes only 2%
of the annual traffic.
Ian Fordham, chairman of Outer Hebrides Tourism, said: “The feedback is great news.”
He said the results shows “people love the islands. They love coming here and its
a fantastic place to come on holiday.”
Negative issues were about problems over waste disposal while some motorhome drivers
struggled with the narrow roads. The lack of parking in some areas was also a bugbear
The OHT warns imposing a tax on motorhome visitors risks losing £2 million annually
to the islands.
The organisation said 60% of tourists to the Hebrides are repeat visitors.
“Taxing them is not the way we want to repay them for their loyalty,” said the body.
“Scotland, along with the rest of the UK, has one of the highest rates of tourism
taxation in the world, with VAT at 20%, and any additional taxes will force visitors
to look elsewhere for their holidays.”
Motorhome tourism worth £2 million to Western Isles economy