The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) and UKHospitality (UKH) had a virtual meeting with Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP last week in which she confirmed that the Scottish Government is considering more financial support for the hospitality and tourism sectors beyond the restart grants.
The organisations met with the First Minister to discuss the impact and implications for hospitality and tourism businesses that remain in level 3 restrictions and why a why blanket approach to restrictions, was taken rather than a targeted postcode method.
They also took the opportunity to highlight the impact the travel restrictions within the Glasgow area had on tourism businesses across the rest of the country and the need for greater flexibility in the strategic framework restrictions.
Another key issue brought up was the immediate need for financial support required immediately by the impacted tourism and hospitality businesses both within and outside the restricted travel areas and support for new employees who have not been able to work but are not eligible for furlough.
The organisations also emphasised to the First Minister the importance of businesses being given a clear timescale for communication of changes to restrictions with the STA raising the issue of the impact of the ongoing ferries situation on island communities and the tourism economy. The First Minister offered assurance that this was high on the list of priorities for the Transport Secretary.
The STA has meeting with Mr McKee the newly appointed Minister for Business, trade, tourism and Enterprise this week to appraise him of the structure and activity of the organisation, its members and the wider tourism industry and will be inviting both he and Ms Forbes to the next STA Council and Board meetings in June.
Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said, “We are hugely appreciative to the First Minister for taking the time to listen and understand these key issues faced by tourism and hospitality businesses at the moment; it is clear to us from the meeting today that she and Mr McKee have a deep understanding of all of the challenges facing the sector and we are heartened by her indication that the Scottish Government will listen and offer as much support as possible to businesses affected both within and outside of the area.”
“We talked at length about the financial support required for the sector and were pleased that there was the acknowledgement that more support beyond the restart loans, the value of which has been lost due to the current circumstances is being considered.”
Leon Thompson, Executive Director Scotland UKHospitality said, “UKHospitality Scotland will continue to work with the new administration, with the first step a further meeting with Mr McKee next week to discuss support from the Scottish Government. Our sector, like no other, continues to be adversely impacted by restrictions. A clear and early demonstration of the Scottish Government’s commitment to hospitality is vital.”