Loss of thousands of tourism jobs ‘imminent’ warns STA

Marc Crothall of the Scottish Tourism Alliance

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The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) has today warned that the loss of thousands of jobs is imminent.

The STA said its warning follows a Scottish Government announcement  that a grants scheme which has helped smaller business stay afloat would not be extended to businesses with a rateable value above £51,000.

The gap in support has left hundreds of larger hotels, pubs, restaurants and visitor attractions being closed for months and facing ongoing costs but with ‘no significant grant funding,’ said the STA in a statement.

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the STA, welcomed the support given so far by the Scottish and UK governments but has again warned it does not go far enough and the ‘lifeblood’ of the Scottish tourism industry is now in peril.

‘We are hearing of many tourism business above the £51,000 rateable value threshold who have had their applications to these funds declined,’ said Mr Crothall.

‘Their monthly hibernation costs range from £10,000 per month to £350,000 and with no income or support, they are now collapsing.

‘The loss of thousands of jobs is imminent as these businesses simply have no revenue; we are now days away from this.’

Just this week, it was revealed that the 127-bed Bay Great Western hotel – one of the largest in Oban – is one of seven hotels in Scotland to be permanently shut down after parent company Specialist Leisure Group called in the administrators.

The STA has called on the Scottish Government to urgently ‘press’ the UK Government Treasury for more funding to address the imbalance in grants support.

‘Without these businesses, Scotland’s tourism product is significantly compromised,’ said Mr Crothall.

‘The knock-on impact of closure will also put at risk many other types of business in the supply chain that are dependent on their custom, not to mention be a great loss to those living in local communities – many are central to local life.

‘For Scotland to be able compete on a global stage and achieve our 2030 tourism strategy vision of being the world leaders in 21st-century tourism it is essential that these business are protected if not with the genuine risk of loss of significant damage to our tourism fabric this may be unattainable,’ he said.