Easter news a ‘crushing blow to tourism’

Marc Crothall of the Scottish Tourism Alliance.

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The Scottish Tourism Alliance has called the failure to reopen tourism in Scotland for Easter as a ‘crushing blow’ to the economy.

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the STA, said since the First Minister’s announcement this afternoon, it had received an influx of correspondence from tourism businesses ‘extremely anxious’ that an Easter reopening is highly unlikely.

He said a ‘question mark’ had also been placed over domestic travel within Scotland this summer during Nicola Sturgeon’s update to parliament.

Mr Crothall said: ‘I know of numerous businesses who are wholly reliant on being able to trade again at Easter in order to stay solvent; today’s indication that this is highly unlikely will, I know ,serve as a crushing blow to many.’

However, he said the industry was breathing a ‘huge sigh of relief’ following the announcement by finance secretary Kate Forbes MSP that 100 per cent business rates relief to the sector would be extended for another year.

Mr Crothall said: ‘This has been one of the STA’s priority asks in recent months and we have had many constructive conversations with Ms Forbes over the past few weeks and as recently as this morning. I am delighted that our voice has been heard.’

The STA Board is meeting with the First Minister soon and said it plans to take the opportunity to explain what a ‘desperate state’ the industry is in.

Nicola Sturgeon told parliament that Scotland needed to use ‘data, not ‘arbitrary dates’ on its way to easing restrictions, and that opening too quickly would risk another lockdown later in the year.