The number of visitors to the Western Isles has grown from 171,000 in 2006 to 233,000
in 2016. There was a particularly big increase after RET was introduced with ferry
fares slashed in half overnight in October 2008, a year after the SNP came to power
Since 2008 an additional 331,000 tourists have visited the islands, largely thanks
to the introduction of RET and hard work by the Western Isles tourist sector. They
brought an extra £86 million to the island economy and permitted the creation of
a substantial number of new jobs.
If Labour had won the 2007 Holyrood election, there would have been no RET and no
subsequent boost to the island economy. Labour said that RET was "the economics of
the madhouse" and that they didn't want RET because the tourist sector couldn’t cope.
In fact it has coped magnificently.
The Labour candidate in the forthcoming election has said that "RET fares have never
been part of life and travel in these islands" (Heb News 23rd January 2015).
RET has been a stunning success for the Western Isles, and it beggars belief that
the Labour candidate didn't even know it had happened.