Statement on behalf of Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance

“The details of the new restrictions as announced by the First Minister this afternoon which will come into force in just two days’ time are nothing short of devastating for the majority of those operating in our hospitality industry.  The sector has invested significantly in adapting premises to create a safe experience for customers, adhering to government guidance and many have gone beyond this to maintain confidence with visitors and staff. We are acutely aware of the delicate balance between protecting public health and the economy; the reality is however that many businesses will not be able to trade at a level over the next few weeks which would sustain them through the next couple of months and may not be economically viable beyond this year. Whilst many people will be relieved that they can get away on a holiday over the half-term break, businesses have already reported they are taking cancellation calls and expect to see more over the coming days, impacting all areas of the sector, including the supply chain. The announcement of funding support from the Scottish Government of £40 million is welcome and will hopefully go some way to meeting the loss of revenue and support the fixed costs being incurred during this period of restrictions. The STA and a number of sectoral organisations and trade bodies had a call with the Cabinet Secretary after today’s announcement and have been able to put our immediate questions to Mr Ewing. We welcome the opportunity to engage in further discussions to determine how the funding package will be best apportioned but it remains the case that the amount of support will not be sufficient to protect businesses from being forced into potential full time closure with job losses incurred. What is essential is the measurement of the impacts of these restrictions over the course of their enforcement, balanced against the forecasts our members have shared with us over the last few days and we look forward to the invited dialogue as intimated by the First Minister.”

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