Hoteliers unite to lobby for UK-wide unlocking

Hotels facing difficulty due to lack of staff amid Brexit fears

A GROUP of more than 80 Scottish hoteliers has launched an online petition proposing a UK-wide reopening of the tourism and hospitality industries on 17th May.

The date is in line with the provisional reopening date for England set out by prime minister Boris Johnson and comes after first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that Scotland will return to a levels system of coronavirus restrictions from 26th April.

The hoteliers, collectively titled the Hospitality & Tourism Action Group, have said a return to the levels system “demonstrates sheer disdain and contempt, not only for the industry and its employees but equally its customers and suppliers”.

They are calling for an indicative reopening date for the sector – with the understanding that this could move according to scientific data – as well as a review of the financial support available to the hospitality sector, which the group said “is significantly lagging behind the support given in 2020”.

Tanja Lister of the Kylesku Hotel in Sutherland, who leads the group, said: “We’re calling for a more strategic alignment of tourism opening across the UK. The current plans, confusion and loss of confidence risk devastation for our industry and the lives and livelihoods linked to it.

“Also, the financial support on offer in 2021 is very much lacking in comparison to last year. We’re calling for full proper furlough reinstated until their businesses are allowed to open. Anything less risks many of our businesses not reaching the starting line. We need more meaningful grant support that is index linked to the rateable value of businesses. Leaving our businesses with such a significant shortfall now risks some falling at the last hurdle and would result in previous financial support having been in vain.”

The petition can be found here.