Arran Covid-19 Recovery Plan Summary Status August 1st

Summary: The ASK is simple, we want the same right to survive, community and business , as the rest of Scotland. No less, no more. For the last three weeks, Ferry Capacity and demand have been in balance we now have that opportunity. 

Critical Issues:  

  • Tourism contributed £69m and 1516 jobs 2019. Need increased summer capacity extended into September and Autumn.
  • Auchrannie in Employee Consultation Process while continuing to seek increased Ferry Capacity and Government support. Indicative of all Business.
  • Government support package that recognises tourism in general and Islands in particular as a special case requiring additional support.
  • Outcomes from 1,2 and 3 determines the size for Island Survival Plan.

Critical Path: Ferry Capacity significant improvement over the last two weeks means that Ferry Capacity is matching local and tourist demand.

CalMac, responding to AFC, has issued an enhanced summer schedule with capacity limitation based on social distancing (SD). This is a significant improvement, Demand/ Supply balance is being achieved by a dramatic improvement in utilization of available capacity and a reduction in tourist accommodation, which will increase in August. Demand has been correctly depressed. However, from last week, VisitArran has been actively communicating through all its channels that the Island is a; Safe, Responsible and Welcoming destination. Early indication on the demand side suggest strong demand for Self-Catering and a mixed picture for Serviced Accommodation ranging from 85% occupancy in August to delayed opening. Promotion will focus on staying visitors, but we expect day tripper numbers to increase as the season progresses.

Demand Outlook:

Early indications are that deferred holidays from the Spring are being re-planned for the Autumn, with October and November bookings already running ahead of last year. We will continue to monitor and provide input for required ferry capacity.

July end 2019 we had booked £38m of our £69m. We estimate the current July number will be around £7m. If we can maintain the dramatic change in capacity utilization, we could get to £23m for the year, better if we can develop Autumn demand. Whatever happens, we need Government, at all levels, to urgently establish an ‘Island Survival Plan’. It will be interesting to see how the last weeks announcements will affect Arran and our infrastructure that supports this £69m industry employing 1516 workers.


Tom Tracey

August 1st


Summary Information on the plan:


COVID-19 has effectively closed travel and tourism . Restrictions will  not be removed before a vaccine is available (12 months plus). Tourist revenue is the primary income for Arran and will be reduced by around 70% this calendar year. Arran needed to develop a recovery plan in line with the Government Route Map.

Who are the Arran Recovery Group.?

Arran Recovery Group is a short-term response group focused on tackling a particular critical situation. Health and Social Care Partnership, Community Council, Visit Arran, Auchrannie, Taste of Arran, Eco Savvy, Arran Development Trust, North Ayrshire Council support, Local Councillor, Arran High School, ACVS, Arran Ferry Committee, Highlands and Island Enterprise, Arran Economic Group.

Sources of information:

1) Knowledge from all of the above.

2) STEAM report for Arran 2019.

2) CalMac actual capacity data for 2019.

3) Questionnaire May/June 2020; 900 respondents or 20% of the population


Objective of the Arran Recovery Group.

Develop a Recovery Plan which balances the three main strands of Island life, Community, Environment and Economy through each stage of recovery, underpinned by National and local HSCP guidance. The Plan must show how the community will be safe, responsible and sustainable, while managing risk. The plan will operate within the Government guidelines and timetable, Respond, Reset, Reset, Recover: It will ensure four capacities are in place to facilitate recovery:

  • Safety is the primary concern of the community and the people who visit us. Ensure, clear guidelines are in place to mitigate risk and our local HSPC has the capacity to manage Test and Trace for CV19 and maintain normal services for the community and visitors.
  • Supply: Ensure that there is enough ferry capacity to support local and visitor travel, while providing business with information on support available to sustain and prepare for restart.
  • Demand: Ensure, when the time is right, that Arran is promoted as a Safe, Responsive and Welcoming Island destination.
  • Island Financial Recovery fund that recognises the particular Island constraints to Recovery and supports Business infrastructure.


The Recovery Plan will be informed by engagement with the Community on Arran. The objective being to achieve the widest possible consensus.

Arran Recovery Plan to date:

900 respondents and 35,000 responses from community survey helps establish baseline and direct future plan. Draft 6 of the plan complete and draft 7 will go on the website by the 31th July.



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