Crisis talks to save tourist centre from closure

Crisis talks are to be held over the future of Lerwick tourist information centre after its closure date was confirmed – with hopes for a possible takeover.

VisitScotland announced yesterday (Thursday) the iCentre would shut up shop for good on 18th November.

It is part of a nationwide closure, which Visit Scotland claims is designed to grow the tourism sector by influencing visitors before they leave home.

The news has been widely criticiised – particularly as the Lerwick centre has such high footfall from cruise ship passengers, tourists and locals alike.

Shetland Tourism Association is meeting the Development Trusts Association Scotland later this month to discuss a possible takeover.

STA chairwoman Amanda Hawick said the closure would be devastating for Shetland.

“If we don’t take action now the future is going to be very worrying for Shetland and the tourism sector,” she said.

Ms Hawick said the takeover would require a complete transformation of the STA’s constitution and a lot of work from members.

But she said the committee remained optimistic it could be done.

More in next week’s edition.


Add Your Comment
  • Ian Raymond

    • June 14th, 2024 20:30

    Really hope the TIC can be shared – it is invaluable. As someone who’s been visiting Shetland every few years since 1988, on every trip I’ve called in, and always got the information/advice I needed – and yes, I’m tech-savvy and make use of digital sources, but the Shetland TIC is so much better (and dare I say, the staff there are amongst the best).
    And more than that – as someone who’s worked in tourism for an unnamed city in England, closing TICs a) Means smaller accommodation businesses and attractions get less footfall b) First time visitors enjoy their visit less and are less likely to return and c) those who aren’t so tech-savvy miss out.

    • Ian Raymond

      • June 14th, 2024 20:32

      above comment should read “saved”, not “shared”… Autotype!

      • Janet Tulloch

        • June 16th, 2024 16:32

        Totally agree with above statement. Closing the TIC makes zero sense. It is in the heart of Lerwick for a reason. The staff are more than employees. They are ambassadors for all of Shetland, a tourist’s first impression of its people. They help orient and calm frantic tourists who have lost their way. In the end, it’s always about talking with real people. That’s why apps and social media are poor replacements.

  • Carl Farnell

    • June 14th, 2024 22:12

    As I and my family were recent visitors to Lerwick and other parts of The Shetlands, I am shocked to find that out that there is the treat of closure. Even though we had some ideas of places to visit prior to arriving, we still visited the ‘Tourist Centre’. You cannot beat local knowledge – it is that simple. We found out about the guided tours for example. With friendly staff and plenty of interesting items for sale, we popped back the next day to buy some bits as well. Please keep it open.

  • David Coxell

    • June 15th, 2024 18:58

    A really valuable resource for visitors. Local knowledge is so important, and the centre was very helpful when we came to stay.


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