Tourism is one of the most important industries in Orkney, with over 140,000 annual visitors providing a £30 million economic boost to the islands.
Orkney's rich heritage, archaeological treasures, incredible scenery, wildlife, food, drink and crafts are the biggest draws for visitors, along with the islands' many festivals and cultural attractions. The islands are also the top UK destination for cruise liners.
Surveys show that the vast majority of tourists leave Orkney feeling very satisfied with the quality of their experience. That's largely thanks to the local army of hoteliers, guest house and self catering owners, retailers, artisans, chefs, waiting staff and tour guides who work hard to deliver the highest possible standards of service.
Supporting the sector's dedicated workforce is Orkney Tourism Group, which now has more than 400 members. This non-profit making company was founded in 2005 to represent the interests of those involved in Orkney tourism. Its aims include developing tourism by extending the season, increasing the spread of visitors across Orkney, helping operators develop skills and improving transport links. The group launched a new visitor website for Orkney in November 2013.
Tourism businesses also have the support of Visit Scotland which is responsible for the marketing of Orkney outwith the area. It operates a local office and runs staffed visitor centres at the Travel Centre in Kirkwall all year round and at the Ferry Terminal in Stromness during the summer months.
Farming has been a way of life in Orkney for 5,000 years and remains the main industry in the islands.More
Orkney is renowned for its wind, wave and tidal energy resources.More
Food and Drink
Orkney's food and drink producers are enormously proud of what they bring to the marketplace, and they also have a fiercely protective attitude towards the Orkney brand.More
Arts and Crafts
Orkney supports a thriving and remarkably varied crafts industry, with skilled artisans and artists producing all manner of high quality goods.More
Orkney's construction industry remains in good health, with major building projects and a demand for new housing driving the sector.More
Fishing remains an important part of the Orkney economy, with seafood products from the islands famous throughout Britain and beyond for their quality.More