Labour shortages 'leave tourism firms struggling to survive'

Businesses relying on tourism say a lack of workers is causing them major problems.

Labour shortages ‘leave Scottish tourism businesses struggling to survive’ STV News

Businesses relying on tourism say a chronic labour shortage is proving a hurdle in their battle for survival.

Some in the sector say they can’t keep up with demand as they struggle to pay staff in line with the rising cost of living.

Alan Milne and business partner Dan Barnett opened a distillery in Aberdeen in December 2019, just months before the country plunged into lockdown.

Struggling through the pandemic was their first hurdle, but the rising cost of living is now playing its part.

Mr Milne, head distiller at the City of Aberdeen Distillery, said: “If our suppliers can’t get enough labour, they first reduce their range so there’s less choice of whatever product you’re buying.

“Gin is all about botanicals and all those botanicals have to be harvested and a lot of them are harvested by hand. Our suppliers need to have the labour to harvest and grow that product, so, of course, the price of botanicals has gone up.”

The Scottish Government said Brexit was playing a huge part as overseas workers who left during the pandemic haven’t been able to return.

Richard Lochhead, minister for just transition, employment and fair work, said there were around 40,000 vacancies in the hospitality sector in Scotland and called for the UK Government to step in.

He said: “Brexit is making it very difficult to recruit workers from overseas, many of whom have traditionally worked in these sectors around Scotland.

“I am calling on the UK Government to hold a taskforce for labour shortages for all the nations in the UK because it’s a very serious situation we’re facing at the moment.”

Meanwhile, the Greyhope Bay café opened just in tome for the summer tourism boom, but says people have been unable to reach its remote location.

Carole Monnier, from the café, said: “The entire project has been built around the energy and excitement that people have had.

“Every single person who walks through the door helps us as, even though we are within the city, we are quite remote within the city.

“My hopes would be that we have support creating easier access to the site and allow people who are coming to the city to come here more easily.”

The UK Government was contacted for comment.

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