Plans to axe three Perthshire tourist information centres have come under fire.
Murdo Fraser MSP is urging VisitScotland to rethink its proposal to close the Aberfeldy, Dunkeld and Blairgowrie bases in the next two years.
The national tourism body has said regional tourist information hubs will remain in Perth and Pitlochry but visitors are increasingly expected to access other information via apps and web pages.
The Conservative MSP questioned the wisdom of the move, particularly since internet coverage in some of the more remote areas is far from ideal.
“This news is extremely disappointing for everyone involved in the tourism industry in Perth and Kinross,” said Mr Fraser.
“The advent of smart phones has undoubtedly improved the visitor experience but there is still a place for physical tourist information sites, particularly at these three locations.
“With mobile internet access patchy at best across much of rural Perth and Kinross, it’s ambitious to think that tourists will be able to use the internet and access app content whilst out and about.
“I would encourage VisitScotland to think again when it comes to closing these sites, as nothing comes close to replacing the insider information offered at these three tourist information centres.”
VistScotland said the move followed a 58% drop in footfall to information centres across Scotland in the past 12 years, with an increasing number of visitors accessing information online.
The two-year revamp will also see the introduction of 110 VisitScotland Information Partners (VIPs) across Perthshire. Locations such as Cluny House Gardens, Highland Safaris, The Angus Hotel, and Birnam Arts will provide information on a local level.
Jim Clarkson, regional partnerships director at VisitScotland, said: “The way visitors access information has changed significantly over the past decade. It’s time to switch our focus and investment into new and diverse initiatives to ensure we are reaching as many visitors to Perthshire as possible with the information they want, in the way they want it, when they want it.”
The VisitScotland iCentre in Aberfeldy is due to close permanently by the end of March 2018, while the iCentres in Dunkeld and Blairgowrie will cease trading by the end of March 2019.
VisitScotland said the affected employees would be offered a redundancy package or a chance of redeployment elsewhere.