Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said:
The First Minister’s announcement of a significant easing of restrictions in terms of the reopening of our tourism industry across all parts of Scotland on 26th April will I know come as a huge relief and be welcomed by thousands of businesses across the sector.
This is positive and critically important news, particularly for our island communities who have had an extremely anxious and concerning period awaiting news on whether or not their easing of restrictions would be aligned with the mainland. As the First Minister was making the announcement the STA received a flood of emails from tourism businesses in our island communities conveying relief that they can now plan and accept bookings from 26th April.
Gaining clarity around the lifting of restrictions in the islands and the wider issue of travel to and within Scotland has largely been the focus on the STA over the past few weeks; today’s announcement will start to lift a heavy weight from the shoulders of a sector which has been operating in crisis mode for the best part of a year and until recently, has been without a clear indication of when businesses can welcome guests from across Scotland and importantly, the UK.
Having the surety of permitted travel across Scotland and the UK will provide thousands of accommodation providers with the ability to offer assurance to guests who have already booked and those looking to holiday in Scotland over the coming weeks and months. Our tourism sector is dependent on 70% of the domestic market and today’s news will come as a massive boost for many businesses who rely so much on attracting visitors from all parts of the UK.
While many hospitality businesses will not be able to operate as they would wish within the coming weeks in relation to guidance around social distancing and alcohol, I know that the First Minister’s announcement will bolster many hundreds of accommodation providers, other hospitality businesses and their suppliers who have been so keen to get going and welcome guests back after so many months of being closed.
The STA looks forward to our continued discussions with the Scottish Government and officials over the coming weeks to obtain further clarity around guidance to enable our industry to plan and open effectively and safely as we move to what we hope will be our recovery period.