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August 14th Arran Covid-19 Recovery Plan Summary Status

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 five 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.
  • Debt, accumulating by business during the crisis, will affect future investment in people, product and infrastructure.
  • Government support package that recognises tourism in general and Islands in particular as a special case requiring additional support.
  • Outcomes from the two above 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. This balance situation continues into August which is typically our busiest month. VisitArran has recently been communicating through all its channels that the Island is a; Safe, Responsible and Welcoming destination. Early indication suggests strong demand for Self-Catering and a mixed picture but generally positive for Serviced Accommodation. Communication will focus on attracting 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. 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 and deliver with CalMac support. Businesses continue to be impacted by COVID19 restrictions and are vulnerable to fluctuations in demand and fragility in ferry capacity, particularly as we move into the Autumn months. Many businesses remain on the edge of viability, as they struggle to turn demand into sustainable revenue. What happens over the next 8 weeks will be crucial.  Because of this, we need Government, at all levels, to urgently establish an ‘Island Survival Plan’.

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