Tourism alliance calls for social distancing to be relaxed

The Scottish Tourism Alliance has warned of thousands of potential job losses in the hospitality sector if the restrictions remain.

Tourism alliance calls for social distancing to be relaxed Getty Images

The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) is calling for social distancing rules to be relaxed to help avoid thousands of job losses.

A survey by the group found the majority of businesses in the hospitality sector are economically unsustainable if the two-metre rule remains.

The two surveys, which ran between June 16-21, focused on accommodation providers and restaurants, which are two of the largest employers within the sector.

The organisation also sought to build a picture of how many businesses will be able to open from the indicative date of July 15.

According to the survey 69% of hotels plan to reopen in July with 11% saying they have no plans to open.

Around 5% currently remain open to key workers and those who require accommodation.

Almost a third of hotels surveyed confirmed they were not planning on reopening from July 15 with the two-metre physical distancing restrictions being blamed for making it economically unsustainable for their business to operate.

More than three quarters said they would lose more than half of their turnover and 11% say they could not afford to open unless restrictions are reduced to one metre.

The STA warned this could result in more than 25,000 job losses.

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the STA said; “The survey confirms that around 85% of businesses within the hotel and restaurant sectors in Scotland will stop trading if the two metre physical distancing rule remains in place for the next two months should no further financial support be forthcoming.

“The figures reflect the many conversations we have been having with businesses across all sectors in the tourism industry for months and underline just how crucial the current review of the two-metre physical distancing rule is within the context of the health and economic crises.

“Coupled with the expected slow recovery forecasted, we expect a steady stream of job losses across the whole of Scotland over the coming weeks.

“Also, as we all know, visitors will choose where to stay based on the tourism product available in that area and are unlikely to travel to destinations that have a limited product in the form of restaurants, visitor attractions and pubs.

“We will be sharing the results of our research with the Tourism Secretary on our STA Council call with him this afternoon and we will be requesting a call with the First Minister to discuss our findings in more detail.”

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