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April 26 will see a welcome return of holidaymakers to the Western Isles says Outer Hebrides Tourism today (Tuesday April 13). 

And Loganair has been quick off the mark with a special flights offer to all the Islands. 

OHT welcomes today's announcement from the Scottish Government allowing leisure travel between the Mainland and the Islands to resume later this month.

"This is a key step in life returning to normal and is just as important for people who want to reconnect with friends and family on the Mainland as it is for the tourism industry here in the Outer Hebrides.  
 
"Now that leisure stays on the islands will be allowed from 26th April 2021, and dates have been aligned with those set for the mainland, businesses can plan for the season ahead.  

"The tourism industry is committed to playing its part in making sure that everyone remains safe. We also remind visitors how important to treat the islands and the fragile environment with respect throughout their stay
 
"We hope that the progress made in tackling COVID-19 continues and recognises the hard work of health workers and others throughout the pandemic." says OHT in a media release.   

Rob McKinnon, Chief Executive of Outer Hebrides Tourism said: “In our discussions with the Government, we stressed the need for clarity and the importance of treating island and mainland businesses equally.  Today’s announcement is welcome news on both fronts.  

"It will come as a relief to businesses across the islands that have endured a tough 12 months, and more recently been facing a wave of cancellations.” 

Scotland's airline Loganair says: "We are heartened the Scottish Government has updated its Covid-19 Roadmap to detail the safe re-opening of travel and tourism to/from Scotland’s islands.

"Today will be most welcome news for families and friends who've been kept apart for many months, as well as parts of our island economies which are hugely dependent on tourism.

"We're looking forward to playing our role in safely reconnecting communities and are giving an additional 10% off flights to/from Shetland, Orkney, Benbecula, Stornoway and Islay!"

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Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has welcomed an announcement from Scottish Government today that COVID travel restrictions are to come into line with the rest of Scotland from 26th April 2021, enabling travel to and from the Islands with mainland Scotland.  The Islands will remain in COVID Level 3 and be joined by the rest of Scotland.

Comhairle Leader, Councillor Roddie Mackay, said: “We are pleased that the confusion of the last few weeks has been cleared up and that the tourism sector now has some clarity and certainty and can plan ahead with confidence." 

SNP Candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has also welcomed today’s announcement: “This will come as a huge relief to the many tourism and hospitality businesses in the islands. I had been pressing the Scottish Government to make a decision on this as, until now, these businesses have been unable to properly plan for the weeks and months ahead.

“Locally, we are making fantastic progress against the virus: it has been more than 3 weeks since our last positive case, more than 75% of eligible adults have had their first vaccine and more than 30% have had their second dose. There is now clear light at the end of the tunnel if we can stay vigilant and keep to the rules.”

Name of Candidate

Description of Candidate

ALLAN, Alasdair James

Scottish National Party (SNP)

BERKENHEGER, Gavin

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

FRASER, Shaun Alexander

Scottish Labour Party

MACMILLAN, Callum Ian

Time for Change

MITCHISON, Neil

Scottish Liberal Democrats