Tourism firms cry out for help from ministers

Pressure is growing on the Scottish Government to provide further help for tourism businesses – especially in the Highlands – so they can get ready to welcome back visitors.

Marc Crothall, chief executive at the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), which represents more than 250 members, has warned that the industry is “on the brink of collapse”.

He called for a date to be set for reopening the tourism sector so businesses can get ready to welcome guests safely and visitors will have the confidence to book their holidays.

Crothall said more than 2,500 companies had been unable to access grants from the Scottish Government and that the hardship and pivotal funds have not been enough to help the sector, with some firms being turned down for support.

His comments come just days after 75 tourism and hospitality businesses wrote to the First Minister calling for more further action.

David Whiteford, chair of the North Highland Initiative, and Tanja Lister, director at The Kylesku Hotel in Sutherland, organised the letter to Nicola Sturgeon.

“There have been calls to extend the lockdown in the Highlands for longer, beyond the rest of Scotland or UK,” they said.

“Given the timing and realities of our situation, this could be ruinous.

“If our businesses cannot open until the autumn then, given the short season, it will be less viable for those that are seasonal to reopen until next year, meaning many will have been shut for 18 months.

“The difference between re-opening in July or September could likely be the determining factor in the survival of our industry, its suppliers and producers here.”

Read more news stories on the Scottish Field website.