More Easter sailings needed

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For Arran not to have its two ferry summer sailings in time for Easter is a bitter blow indeed.

All the more so after the terrible year the tourist trade has had during the pandemic.

Beleaguered businesses are already looking ahead to Easter, the traditional start to the Arran holiday season, although that has become more blurred with all-year-round visitors.

However, it remains a vital time for holiday booking and mass arrival of visitors spending money. And the fact that not only will the start of the two sailings miss Easter, it will miss the entire two weeks of school holidays, is of real concern.

Worrying too is that bookings for the summer season are still being taken using the reduced capacity in place on the ferries just now in line with social distancing.

It is to be hoped by the spring that there will be a relaxation in social distancing and many of the other restrictions still in place due to Covid-19 at present – but there is no guarantee they will go completely any time soon.

So it is all the more important that the Isle of Arran Ferry Committee, VisitArran, our elected representatives and others with a voice make themselves heard by CalMac and Transport Scotland that Arran really needs an improved service over Easter.

It has been done before and now, more than ever, Arran needs it to happen again next year to given the hospitality industry the welcome boost it needs in getting as many visitors to Arran as possible.