UKHospitality has published its manifesto: Rebuilding Scotland’s Hospitality and Tourism Sectors ahead of the 2021 Scottish Parliament election.
The manifesto highlights the vital importance of the hospitality and tourism sectors as an economic and cultural force in Scotland and the crucial need for them to be supported. It also emphasises the disproportionate harm caused by the COVID pandemic and the critical need for hospitality and tourism businesses to be at the heart of the Scottish Government’s plans to rebuild the economy.
The manifesto calls for a diverse range of measures, including a full review of business rates with a shift away from tax on property, the creation of a well-funded marketing programme to promote Scottish tourism, and a moratorium on new regulations coming from Scottish Government that will impact the hospitality sector as it recovers.
The value of supporting the hospitality sector is clear. Hospitality is a truly pan-Scotland sector, generating jobs and economic growth across the country. If properly supported by the next Scottish Government hospitality can unleash its potential, helping to restore communities and high streets after the pandemic, as well as spearheading longer-term initiatives such as public health schemes and sustainability programmes.
UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director, Willie Macleod, said: “Hospitality is at the heart of daily life for so many Scots. Our businesses are a major driver of economic growth, providing 10% of national employment, and we are at the centre of the social lives of millions.
“The economic and social benefits of the sector are found in every community in every region of the country. We play a pivotal role in ensuring that Scotland’s tourism offering remains one of the world’s best. We also provide job opportunities, training, and the possibility of personal and professional development for many, particularly younger people looking to earn, learn and grow.
“A robust and fully-supported hospitality sector, given the tools to flourish and grow, should be central to any Scottish Government’s plans, and to rebuilding the economy following the devastation of the pandemic. Businesses in every region have known only forced closures or the tightest of restrictions for over a year. Businesses that will be expected to lead the recovery of the Scottish economy will have to do so from a position of immense vulnerability.
“However, that will require vital support from Holyrood, so that our businesses can spark an economic revival and see villages, towns and cities prosper again. This is exactly what hospitality did following the financial crisis and we can do it again. The key asks in UKHospitality’s manifesto show the incoming Scottish Government exactly how they can put us in the best position to provide jobs, secure investment and give the country a reason to enjoy itself.
“If the Scottish Government listens to us and provides the right support, then we can go even further. Our sector can be in the vanguard of efforts to promote green issues such as carbon reduction and sustainability. We can also spearhead national efforts to promote healthier attitudes to food and drink. If we are given the correct support, then hospitality’s ability to be a positive influence economically, socially and culturally is massive.”