It was a long way to Inveraray…when there was no place to go

Businesses in popular tourist town Inveraray are hoping for a bumper summer after four months of lockdown.

Businesses in Inveraray are hoping for a bumper summer season after four months of lockdown saw next to no visitors in the town.

Traditionally it’s one of the busiest tourist destinations on the west coast, but since Christmas, the town has been all but silent. Hopes are high that the latest relaxation of the rules will give the vital spark needed to boost the town’s fortunes as visitors are allowed to return once again.

“The last few months have been really slow,” said Kirsty Bremner from Brambles of Inveraray, a hotel and bistro on the towns main street. “We’re lucky enough to be open for the May Day bank holiday weekend, which is always usually really busy. Hopefully it’s nice weather as well”.

Although some businesses have been allowed to keep their doors open throughout the latest lockdown, many of them chose not to. Without attractions and accommodation for people, there were fears there simply wouldn’t be enough customers and the numbers just wouldn’t stack up.

That was the problem facing the owners of Campbell Coffee, “without the tourists, without the passing trade, it just wouldn’t have been viable for us,” said Courtney McMullan, a barista in the coffee shop. “The businesses in Inveraray rely on each other.”

At the top of the town is Inveraray jail, usually one of the busiest attractions in the area. Hundreds visit every day during peak season, bringing enough visitors to supply the whole town with trade.

“We had to do what we needed to do to keep us all safe, but it is time for us to open. People want to go out, they want to explore and we want to go back to work,” said Sam Potts, matron of Inveraray Jail.

With the entire town so reliant on tourism, the only doors they’ll be wanting to lock again in Inveraray are those of the cells in the jail.

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