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21/11/2019 - Project Managers from Jura appointed to promote Scottish Islands Passport scheme

Who better to manage a new tourism initiative promoting the attractions of Scotland’s 80 accessible and inhabited islands than two women who live and work on an island?

Sarah Compton-Bishop and Kirsten Gow will jointly manage the Scottish Islands Passport Scheme from a base in their home island of Jura (population 220).


They have been appointed by HITRANS, the regional transport partnership for the Highlands and Islands, to create and introduce the scheme, which has attracted funding from the EU Leader Programme and is backed by the Scottish Government and Zetrans.
Their aim is to launch the Passport to coincide with Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters in 2020. A key element of their work will be to implement a detailed project plan that will include the development of both a physical and online App-based versions of a Scottish Island Passport that is capable of appealing to different markets and demographics.
Sarah and Kirsten were chosen from a wide range of candidates and impressed at their interviews with their enthusiasm and vision for delivering the scheme.
The colleagues will be based at the Service Point in Craighouse, Jura’s main settlement, but will spend time visiting other island communities throughout Scotland to discuss and identify the most effective ways on each island of encouraging more visitors to experience the treasures of island life.
They will be designing a Passport for visitors to use on their travels and developing a web site and app to point tourists to the various island communities.
It is estimated there are 80 inhabited islands in Scotland with ready public access.
On Jura, during the summer months, residents and visitors can use a 12-seat passenger ferry which plies between Craighouse and the mainland at Tayvallich, a journey of 45 minutes.
For the rest of the year, residents rely on a ferry service to the neighbouring island of Islay and then onward to the mainland at Kennacraig.
Sarah moved to Jura 8 years ago, with her partner Ronald, a native of Jura, and their three children and has previously worked in tourism and community roles.
As well as originally building the island shop, Kirsten’s family ran the Jura Hotel for a number of years and, after some time living on the mainland, she moved back to the family croft last year.  She also works part time for Rural Housing Scotland.
Kirsten said: “We are incredibly lucky to be able to live and work in such an amazing place and the view from the office window will definitely be a huge motivator when looking at ways to encourage people to explore the beautiful landscapes, rich culture and exciting activities on offer across all of our islands, not just the better known.”
Sarah said: “This project is a great opportunity for us to channel our love of Scotland’s islands to help others discover the hidden gems us locals take for granted.  As islanders ourselves we’re really keen to look at ways that we can encourage ethical and sustainable tourism and we’re looking forward to working with island communities in this regard.”  
Ranald Robertson, Director of HITRANS, said:  “Sarah and Kirsten are outstanding candidates and hugely impressed with their passion for island life and for introducing this exciting new tourism initiative, which we hope will offer sustainable economic opportunities on each island, and in particular, those less well known or more remote.
“They will work flexibly from their base in Jura and will be given all the support they need from the HITRANS team to deliver this project.”
The work undertaken during their 18-month contract will be overseen by a project steering group consisting of several key stakeholders including those who have shown their commitment to the project by providing the match funding to support the proposal, which is a Programme for Government commitment.  

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