iCentre questions as Visit Scotland pulls out

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The planned closure of Campbeltown, Tarbert and Inveraray’s tourist information iCentres has divided opinion.

Following the Courier‘s coverage last week four people have responded, at length, to a post on our website and Facebook page. In addition there have been calls and a letter, from Malcolm Roughead, the VisitScotland chief executive, which is on page seven.

Campbeltown’s iCentre is in MacKinnon House named after the eponymous Lachlan, Distinguished Service Cross, the first area tourist officer for Mid-Argyll, Kintyre and Islay Tourist Board (MAKTI).

There is some question about who owns the building. Apparently it was gifted to the town council and would thus have passed to Argyll and Bute council. Ian Y Macintyre from Tarbert has different information.

Mr Macintyre, 84, who has worked in Tarbert retail since the mid-1950s and produced his own set of colour postcards, starting in the early 1970s, is passionate about encouraging tourism.

Mr Macintyre said: ‘MacKinnon House should be passed on to a local body when VisitScotland vacates the premises. The original MAKTI constitution vested the trustees with the control of the property.

‘I have spoken to Jason McCallum of Campbeltown Community Market as he is moving into the tourism business with his Love Kintyre screens.’

Commenting on social media, Adam Boyd said: ‘If it is to be and no amount of debating will stop it, then the concentration should be on filling the property.

‘Too many properties lie empty after closure in town. That property is ideally situated for the likes of West Coast Motors, Springbank Distillery or Glen Scotia.

‘Campbeltown used to be the whisky capital of the world. It is in an ideal position for advertising, plus they could still have tourist information whilst selling their goods.

‘The lull caused between the notice of properties closing, and filling them again, can be wasted in trying to stop it in the first place, as has happened in the past.’

John Walker has a different view and rails at modern technology.

He said: ‘Unfortunately economics prevails again. It is nothing to do with the so called phone apps and technology.

‘What has not been taken in to consideration is those who do not have access to phones and tablets.

‘They just know how to communicate the traditional ways. We are humans and communicate with each other face to face.

‘The direction of modern communication will lead to far worse closures and loss of valuable staff and personal.

‘The economics sectors would be quite happy with robots performing operations within the medical sector.

‘I wonder if people will be happy with them building aircraft they board for their holidays at 35,000 feet.’