SCOTLAND's hotels and B&Bs are booked out, visitor attractions mobbed, ferries full to the brim and islands bursting at the seams. Scotland's tourism industry, already recognised as an essential economic driver, generating an annual visitor spend in excess of £4.5bn, is this year reporting record international visitor numbers.

It's great news not only for rural communities but the whole of the country and it's right that Scotland with its unique combination of heritage, folklore, breath-taking landscapes and culture-rich cities should be recognised for what it has to offer.

Yet it's a success story that also shines a light on Scotland's struggling tourist infrastructure. Overseas visitors come her believing that Scotland's most well-known spots from Skye to Loch Ness will welcome them with open arms, but some are forced to sleep in their cars due to a dearth of accommodation. They are unlikely to return.

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We may appear to the world as a great destination but in reality we lack much of the tourist infrastructure that countries much poor than us boast. It's time to get our act together and strong leadership is needed.

Better marketing of the benefits of out-of-season travel in Scotland would help, as well as more support in promoting some of Scotland's beautiful but hidden gems in order to "spread the wealth" and the pressure on infrastructure. Investment is a must, making sure that public transport, toilets, cash points and wifi are available to tourists who are often taken aback by the lack of facilities, cafes that close at 5pm and pubs and restaurants calling last orders early in the evening.

Development must also be driven by local communities, and have their needs at its heart. Affordable housing allows young people to remain in their communities and contribute or create innovative new businesses, from restaurants making the most of local produce, to outdoor adventures or sustainable wildlife tours.

Scotland has much to celebrate right now. Let's make sure it makes the most of its moment in the sun.