Scotland tourism businesses state closing down over uncertainty on reopening date

 Saturday, April 3, 2021 


Up to a third of tourism businesses across Scotland’s islands have said that continued uncertainty over a date for reopening might lead them to close their enterprises.

A lack of clarity from the Scottish government has led to a wave of cancelations from visitors, many of whom are going for to alternative holidays on the mainland.

Rob McKinnon, CEO of Outer Hebrides Tourism, said that Government emails have confirmed that there is “No definitive timescale or specific dates” for the islands.

“The islands do not know how they will be treated, with only a vague commitment to respond in a ‘couple of weeks’,” McKinnon said.

There is a concern that a prohibition regarding non-essential travel between the mainland and the islands will continue.

“As well as tourism, this has been met with dismay by many islanders who are desperate to be reunited with relatives on the mainland, by our young folk who are just as keen as their mainland peers to spread their wings after an extended lockdown, and by our local authorities who can see the damage that is being done by this two-tier approach,” said Mr. McKinnon.

Tourism businesses from across the island groups met urging for a level playing field from the Scottish Government on arrangements to end Scotland’s lockdown.

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said, “Tourism is critical to our island economies; the impact of current restrictions has been severe across our island communities. Many hundreds of island businesses are members of the STA either directly or through membership of their sectoral or destination organizations. All have told us directly that they would not wish to remain out of kilter with the mainland lockstep approach, in fact quite the opposite. If businesses in our islands can’t follow the same approach as the mainland, the impact will be more severe than may be understood currently. Businesses will lose trade to mainland businesses, people will choose to visit other destinations leading quickly to business failure, significant unemployment and an economic and social crisis within our island communities.”

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