Press release for the paper – ‘Skye and Raasay Tourism Infrastructure: A Dynamic Workshop Approach’


Tourism infrastructure (TI) issues on Skye and Raasay came to a watershed in 2017 with the exponential growth in tourist numbers colliding with an infrastructure that is no longer fit for purpose. This ambitious paper seeks to provide solutions to the TI issues and, particularly, solutions which are sustainable for both locals and tourists for this and future generations.

The paper firstly asks why the TI problem arose and attributes this to the effective zero entrance price that is currently charged for iconic sites such as the Storr and Quirang. As the paper shows, this is not a unique issue and arises in other areas such as in the fishing industry. So at least part of the solution to the TI problem will be some form of pricing, either through, say, parking charges, licensing or quota restrictions. The paper, though, stresses that there can be no one unique solution – the solution is likely to be multifactorial.

In thinking about solutions, the paper offers a dynamic modelling approach that has two dimensions. The first is to think how the TI issues may be addressed in the short term (1-2 years) – the obvious road surface, parking and toilet issues that everyone is familiar with; through to the medium term (3-5) years, in terms of more ambitious parking and congestion solutions, which may include a park and ride model for part of the island; the long-run is that which offers sustainability to the tourist industry in terms of the iconic sites and of course to the local community, and needs to be thought through now at this watershed time.

The second dynamic aspect of the project involves what is referred to as a dynamic workshop approach, engaging all stakeholders, to decide on the relevant projects that satisfy the objectives in the three time horizons. As part of the workshop approach a novel scoring method is provided for evaluating and prioritising projects and this is set out in detail in the paper.

The paper proposes two long-term ‘anchor’ project statements: a dual World Heritage Site listing for Skye and a Tall Ships project. The World heritage listing is intended to offer long run sustainability to the land based tourism industry, by attracting funding from a diverse range of sources, and similarly the Tall ships race, with various events built around it is intended to kick start the sleeping giant of marine tourism by way of offering imaginative and innovative funding solutions.

About the Authors:

Ronald MacDonald

Ronald is currently Professor in Macroeconomics and International Finance at the Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow. Prior to this he held the Bonar Macfie Chair of economics, 2005-2006, and the Adam Smith Chair of Political Economy 2006-20015, both at Glasgow University. From 1992 to 2004 he was Professor of International Finance at the University of Strathclyde and from 1989-91 held the Robert Fleming Chair in Finance and Investment, at the University of Dundee.

Ronald has published over 150 refereed journal articles and authored or edited over 18 books and Google scholar ascribes over 350 written pieces in total to him. He is also a Research Fellow of the CESifo Research Network, Munch, and an International Fellow of the Kiel Institute of Economic Policy. He is also an associate editor for six economics journals and has over 13,000 citations recorded on Google Scholar to his written work. and he consistently ranks in the top 1% of the IDEAS/ RePec ranking of economists in the UK, Europe and in the World. Ronald was awarded an OBE in the 2015 Queens Birthday Honours list for services to Economic Policy.

His peer reviewed papers are published in the Economic professions’ leading journals, including The Economic Journal, Economica, The Review of Economics and Statistics, European Economic Review, The Journal of Monetary Economics, The Journal of Money Credit and Banking, The Journal of International Money and Finance, The Journal of Banking and Finance, IMF Staff Papers, The Journal of Business, Economics and Statistics.

Ronald has acted as a consultant advisor, on a large range of topics, to the European Commission, General Secretariat for Development Planning, Qatar, the European Central Bank, The World Bank, The IMF, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, The UK National Audit Office and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and has also been a visiting scholar to the Deutsche Bundesbank, the Austrian Central Bank, and the Norwegian Central Bank. Additionally, he has been a visiting Scholar and Consultant to the Research Department of the IMF on 13 separate occasions, Visiting Economist to the African department of the IMF and appointed a Monetary Advisor to the IMF in 2012. He has also been a consultant to a number of private sector institutions, including Royal Bank of Scotland (in the 1990s), Credit Suisse First Boston, Gartmore and Deutsche Morgan Grenfell.

Donald MacRae

From Treaslane primary school, Skye, in the 1950’s, life has furnished Donald with graduate, masters and doctoral qualifications in Scotland and Australia.  Work life has included executive management, under-secretary and director of corporate planning in the Australian Government in Canberra along with private consulting experience encompassing 28 countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, North America, Europe, and Oceania. He has been involved in the orchestration of local, regional, national and international projects for heavy industry companies, environment management agencies, remote & rural developments, urban & regional developments, international drylands management, global economic & resources management modelling, and R&D prioritisation.

More specifically, the Global Economic & Resources Management Modelling project involved coordinating from the East-West Centre in Honolulu comparisons and integration of modelling ventures by Donald’s group in the Australian government, the Limits to Growth Model, UK Cabinet Office, OECD Interfutures Project, World Bank’s World Development Report Model, Tokyo University’s Fuji Global IO Model, Global Resources Models of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna, the UN’s World IO Model developed by Wassily Leontief. The International Drylands Project had 14 international agencies wanting to fund the project resulting in the executive report Drylands Dilemma, and the books The Economics of Drylands Management and Drylands Management: Case Studies.  Expanding the pollution control focus of the OECD to encompass natural resources management took Australia years to pull off, with the upside being countless visits to Paris for Donald, and many a side trip to Scotland.

The workshop-based R&D prioritisation process developed by CSIRO, Australia’s largest science and research organisation, was adopted by numerous national and regional organisations, several through the London-based Commonwealth Science Council.  Consultancy projects included: (a) the development of a regional development policy for Western Australia resulting from harnessing and distilling the insights of numerous stakeholders in 9 regions; (b) the facilitation of a world study tour and provision of a social benefit-cost analysis as key inputs to a masterplan for St Andrews, a new city for 150,000 residents north of Perth, Western Australia; (c) a review and evaluation of the effectiveness of the climate change research program funded by the Australian Government; and (d) a stakeholder-driven 25-year scenario planning project for the Avon River Basin of Western Australia.

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