Coronavirus: Scotland’s tourism industry ‘at risk of total collapse’

More than 2500 businesses without any grant support, says Scottish Tourism Alliance

SCOTLAND’S tourism industry is “at risk of total collapse” with more than 2500 businesses above the £51,000 rateable value threshold receiving no grant support.

That’s the warning from Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) chief executive Marc Crothall, who said many of these medium to large businesses will not survive the period between now and reopening unless government support is given immediately.

The STA said the tourism industry, which contributes £7 billion to Scotland’s GDP and 218,000 jobs, needs “urgent financial support and a package for longer-term support” if it is to survive.

It has also called on the Scottish Government to give the sector a date now for reopening, saying the easing of lockdown measures in England has prompted an increase in tourism bookings to areas such as Cornwall.

“There are over 2500 tourism businesses who sit above the £51,000 rateable value threshold and are still receiving no grant support whatsoever,” said Crothall.

“These medium to larger businesses are the lifeblood of Scotland’s tourism industry, major employers – without them, we simply have no tourism industry and these businesses are at risk of collapse.

“A stark number of tourism businesses are being turned down for hardship and other grants. These businesses will not survive more than a few weeks. The furlough scheme was there to protect jobs for the future. If there is no business, there are no jobs.

“Scotland’s tourism industry needs urgent financial support and a package for longer-term support – there is a very real risk that many tourism businesses will simply not survive the period between now and reopening.

“Scotland’s tourism industry needs a date now for reopening to allow the necessary period of planning for safe reopening and to offer confidence to all who live here and wish to travel here that Scotland’s tourism industry will open for business within the coming weeks.

“We need to see a greater commitment from the Scottish Government to elevating the economy and indeed the tourism sector as a whole.”