MSP Wishart seeks talks over NorthLink group bookings

Liberal Democrat MSP Beatrice Wishart has said that NorthLink cancelling group bookings could be “very damaging” for the tourism industry.

The ferry operator is not taking group bookings for 2021, and has cancelled all bookings already made for groups, due to Covid-19.

Ms Wishart said that decision was “extremely worrying” for Shetland’s tourism sector.

“This is another blow for the sector after such a challenging year,” she said.

She said she is now seeking “urgent” talks with government ministers about the decision.

Jim Dow, Serco’s commercial director for NorthLink Ferries, said: “Due to the uncertainties surrounding Covid-19, we are not currently accepting group bookings for 2021, but are continuing to closely review the situation and we hope to be able to change this if circumstances allow.

“We are committed to supporting the tourism industry in Shetland and Orkney, and continue to welcome tourists on board our services on a regular basis. This provisional decision will help us support islanders and visitors with their forward bookings and avoid further cancellations.”


Add Your Comment
  • John M Scott

    • October 15th, 2020 8:51

    This is not the first time that NorthLink have acted arbitrarily and without recourse to due process. Recently the company announced that anyone who was rude to their staff would be barred from future sailings, irrespective of the circumstances surrounding any such allegation. This is a serious abuse of power due to the ferry service being one of two major transport links to the Shetland Islands. Having encountered rude NorthLink staff over the years, a rare occurrence I might add, if I had dared to complain, would that render me subject to one of their banning orders ? Surely the time has come for the Transport Committee of Shetland’s Island Council to question the use of such arbitrary power, particularly in relation to group bookings, which will have a serious effect over the lives of Shetlanders and the islands future economic viability.


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