Holyrood pledge to help tourism

Fergus Ewing reiterates support for industry at conference

The Scottish Government is “committed” to working with the tourism industry in Scotland, and has pledged support in terms of business rates, regulation and developing skills.

Speaking at the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) midsummer conference in Cumbernauld earlier this month, Fergus Ewing, Scottish minister for business, energy and tourism, pledged to support the industry “to ensure its continuing success”.

Marc Crothall, STA
STA chief Marc Crothall said he was “delighted to receive such a strong pledge of support”.

“The 2014 tourism figures are hugely encouraging and show Scotland’s tourism industry continuing to grow as we outperform the rest of Great Britain in both domestic and international visitors,” said Ewing.

“The Scottish Government is committed to working together with the tourism industry to ensure its continuing success. This includes work in skills, business rates, better regulation, engagement with Europe, investment in infrastructure and support for events.

“We understand the importance of the tourism industry to Scotland’s economy and in promoting the Scottish brand across the world and events like this [the conference] will help this work continue.”

Scottish Tourism Alliance chief executive Marc Crothall said the organisation was “delighted to have received such a strong pledge of support from the minister”.

However, he added that changes were required in order for the industry to continue to thrive.

He said: “A step change is, however, required at a number of levels to remove barriers to growth and to make Scotland a destination of first choice for a high quality, value for money and memorable customer experience.

“Tax levied on tourism experiences, APD (air passenger duty), high fuel price levels, digital connectivity, recruiting talent into the industry, destination funding – these are all areas which make it extremely challenging to compete within a global environment.”

More than 100 tourism industry professionals attended the Raising Our Game conference at Cumbernauld’s Westerwood Hotel.

Other speakers at the event included Scottish Tourism Alliance chairman Stephen Leckie. The chairman delivered an address on the national tourism strategy, Tourism Scotland 2020, which is being led by the STA. Leckie announced a mid-term review of the strategy, which will be conducted in autumn this year.