A Harris-based family business has expanded to encourage more people to visit the island and boost the local economy.
Norserv Facilities Management in Tarbert specialises in property management across Harris and the north of Scotland. The business is owned by Jamie McGowan and his wife Deenie.
The firm moved to expand by purchasing properties to use as holiday lets called Love Harris Holidays, securing a £90,000 funding package from Bank of Scotland to support the purchase of a three-bedroom and a two- bedroom property with hot tubs and outdoor seating with sea views in Bunavoneader.
The introduction of the two properties has also created one full-time job on the island for a new property manager.
The properties will be available for week-long stays for people visiting the island. During the winter, the homes will be used by families and children through charity When You Wish Upon A Star free of charge.
The business is now focused on building its property portfolio to help create sustainable year-round employment for the island’s younger generations. By 2025, it hopes to have developed further properties on the island and across northern Scotland to attract more visitors to the region.
Jamie McGowan, managing director of Norserv Facilities Management, said: “As an island business, we’re passionate about promoting the Outer Hebrides. We’re really excited to now be welcoming visitors to the new Bunavoneader properties so that they can explore this part of the world and help boost the local economy.
“The support from Bank of Scotland was a massive help in our expansion. With this support we’ve been able to open our new rental properties and offer something for both tourists, and those looking for respite during extremely challenging times.
“The new holiday home venture marks the first step in our growth plans for the business. Over the next four years we hope to develop further properties in various locations and bring more visitors to the North of Scotland and to Harris to keep our island life thriving.”
Samantha Mitchell, relationship manager at Bank of Scotland: “Tourism to the Outer Hebrides has been rising year on year, and now more than 200,000 people visit the islands in an average year.
“The pandemic severely disrupted travel to the islands and turned the tourism industry on its head. But the rise of domestic travel means that the islands are set to see tourist numbers rise once more and the new Love Harris Holidays rental properties look set to be a very popular destination on the island.
“We’re proud to have been able to help the McGowans make such a positive impact on Harris and to the lives of children at the When You Wish Upon a Star initiative.”