Letter: iCentre closure disappointing

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It is with considerable disappointment we learn of the proposal to close the Tarbert tourist information office within the next two years.

As a local business, we supported the initial Mid Argyll Kintyre and Islay Tourist Board when it was set up. Over the years since then, we believe the tourist office and its welcoming staff have contributed to an increase in tourism in this area.

Tarbert is the focal point for tourists en route via ferries to or from Islay, Jura, Cowal and Arran and onward into Kintyre. Tarbert is also a destination in its own right, with its ancient castle, Robert the Bruce connections and its safe and attractive harbour. Whilst still a base for an active fishing fleet, Tarbert harbour now boasts one of the larger marinas on the Scottish west coast.

Tarbert is the setting for several yachting events, an annual seafood festival, a music festival, Tarbert Fair and, more recently, a book festival which involves visitors and locals.

At the same time, there are cost-saving proposals by Argyll and Bute Council to close a number of public toilets. This is not likely to encourage tourists to this area. It would also appear Oban is to become the main ‘tourist hub’ for this part of Argyll. Our impression over the years has been that Oban looks towards the outer islands and east toward Stirling and Perth or north to Inverness. As a result Mid Argyll, Kintyre and south Argyll will be the ‘poor relations’.

We believe a network of tourist information points is important to maintain a viable tourist trade. Consultation should surely have been undertaken before final decisions were made.

Ian Y Macintyre and partners, Tarbert.