News in brief

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Worldwide travel firm Kuoni has partnered McKinlay Kidd, which has been creating tailor-made holidays throughout the UK and Ireland since 2003 to offer a new UK section on Kuoni’s website. It features a range of hand-picked itineraries and places to stay which have been chosen by McKinlay Kidd, ranging from five-star luxury hotels to family-run characterful retreats. It now includes trips to Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides and a five-star Aston Martin 007 weekend in Scotland discovering locations from past Bond movies.

In a statement today (29th May) Malcolm Roughead OBE, Chief Executive, VisitScotland said, “The tourism and events industry is waiting to see when they can reopen and start the recovery process. All being well, it looks like the end of the summer is the most optimistic timing we can wish for, although we may have some hiccups along the way if the science informs us otherwise. The Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) is supporting the industry and has now published its full recovery plan – taking the industry through the Scottish Government phases of respond, reset, restart, and recover. He continued, “The plan is not set in stone but a moving feast …”

The Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SPBA) has urged the Scottish Government to adopt a 1-meter social-distancing requirement for bar, pubs, and restaurants and is also seeking more clarity and a three-week notice period to re-open following the publication of the Scottish Government’s Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis Commenting on the publication Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association said,

“We are pleased by the publication and to see pubs included as part of a possible, limited reopening utilising outdoor spaces in Phase 2. This would be great news for those pubs which are in a position to re-open at this point, however, no two pubs are the same and the practical challenges may mean that many premises will remain closed during this period.

“While the publication of the Scottish framework is welcome, it is clear that further detail will be needed for our sector to be able to look forward with confidence. We believe that pubs should only open when it is safe to do so, but the lack of any dates being attached to phases 2 and 3 gives us some concern.”

News reports suggest that Edinburgh’s Balmoral hotel has set an opening date of 1st August – if so, this would make it the first major hotel in Scotland to do so.

Donald McNaught and Matt Henderson of Johnston Carmichael have been appointed to jointly handle the proposed company voluntary arrangement (CVA) on behalf of three companies in the David Urquhart Group; David Urquhart (Travel) Limited, David Urquhart Transport Limited and Hart Hotels Limited. The hotels include Ross-shire venues the Garve Hotel and Mackay’s Hotel and The Glenmorag Hotel in Dunoon.

Meanwhile, Mars Black Sheep Hotels has been placed in administration, following a legal battle with Aberdeen-based construction firm Douglas and Stewart Construction to whom it owes more than £3 million.

The company, owned by Sanjay and Rachna Narang, includes the Cluanie Inn, at Glenmoriston, and the Whispering Pine Lodge, at Letterfinlay. The group’s other hotel, Rokeby Manor, at Invergarry, is unaffected, as it is owned by a separate entity.

A spokesman for Black Sheep Management Services, which runs the establishments, said the administration move did not affect the operations of the hotels.

UKHospitality has welcomed the Scottish Government’s Advisory Group on Economic Recovery’s call for evidence to support the reopening of Scottish businesses. UKHospitality Executive Director for Scotland, Willie Macleod said, “This is a sensible approach from the Scottish Government. There will need to be a pooling of resources and brainpower in order to give businesses the best chance to survive and get back to some degree of normality after the crisis.  We will certainly be speaking on behalf of Scotland’s hospitality sector and we look forward to liaising with both the Scottish and UK Government to support reopening.

The Casual Dining Group, the owner of Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge is in talks with interested “multiple parties” over the sale of the business, which could save jobs in the 6,000 strong operations. The group said it had “received strong expressions of interest” from other restaurant groups and private equity firms.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon unveiled the Scottish route map earlier in May – It kicked off on 29th May – Phase 1 – Drive through food outlets, garden centers, and plant nurseries can open with physical distancing. People can visit with another household – outside only – and observing social distancing of 2m, while golf, tennis, and bowling is now back on the agenda again with social distancing.

Although no dates have been set for the final three phases – if allow three weeks between –

Phase 2 (approx 18th/19thJune) physical distancing for all open venues – small retail units with, outdoor markets ( hygiene measures and controls on numbers of people). Pubs and restaurants can open outdoor spaces with increased hygiene routines.

Phase 3 (9th/10th July) – all open venues must adhere to social distancing and increased hygiene routines. These include – Larger retail, pubs and restaurants can open indoor spaces, personal retail services including hairdressers can open. Museums, galleries, cinemas, and libraries can open. Gyms too. Relaxation of restrictions on accommodation providers (including hotels, B&Bs, and holiday homes). Live events permitted with restricted numbers.

Phase 4 – 31st July onwards – All types of outlets would be open in line with public health advice. Shop local could still be encouraged. There would be a further relaxation of restrictions on live events in line with public health advice. Public services would be operating fully, in line with public health advice, with modifications and changes to service design, including increasing use of digital services where appropriate. Gatherings and occasions: Mass gatherings could resume in line with public health advice. All ceremonies could now take place with any necessary precautions.

1 meter, not 2 urge SPBA as they seek clarity on Scottish Route map out of Lockdown




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