The Scottish Tourism Alliance CEO Marc Crothall (pictured) and UKHospitality have written to the First Minister to request an urgent call to discuss the wave of challenges faced by tourism and hospitality businesses in Glasgow and beyond as a result of the city remaining in level 3 restrictions, with the added travel ban.
In the letter, the organisations highlight the immediate issues faced by businesses which had planned to open in accordance with the level 2 restrictions all had anticipated trading within from today, and the need for urgent financial support:
- Tourism and hospitality businesses in Glasgow had been preparing for entering level 2 restrictions today and had committed to staffing their businesses at a level to meet the huge demand for what would have been the welcome return of the hospitality experience that so many businesses and customers had looked forward to. Those staff will not be being brought in today as the demand is no longer there and would seem unlikely to be for the foreseeable future given the acceleration of the virus and the most likely continuation of these restrictions. The majority of those staff will be new and ineligible for furloughed support.
- Businesses had procured at a level to meet the anticipated demand and number of bookings; much food and beverage will go to waste at considerable cost with the supply chain left in now left in limbo and unable to trade at the level so many had hoped to return to.
- The travel ban in and out of Glasgow and has resulted in widespread cancellations for tourism businesses with bookings from those living within what are now level 3 areas.
- The mental health of employers and indeed employees within the industry is now a great cause for concern. This was the last chance that many had to recoup some of the lost trade as a result of lockdown restrictions, significant investment has been made to reopen safely and give the public the confidence needed to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Emotions are running very high now within the industry and feelings of resilience and hope are now turning to bitterness and anger which is being directed towards the Scottish Government.
- The £750 which has been announced to support businesses affected by the requirement to remain in level 3 is some way from what would be required to stabilise those businesses over the coming days and potentially weeks and protect employment within the sector. Those businesses require significantly more financial support.
- Timescale for updates – our industry now needs a timescale for when decisions will be taken in relation to reviewing the current situation in Glasgow and what the criteria for those decisions are.
The STA has had close dialogue with the Scottish Government and several meetings directly with the First Minister since the start of the pandemic and along with counterparts at UKHospitality, will continue to conduct robust research to influence supportive policy for the tourism sector, much of which has been plunged back into crisis mode as a result of Friday’s announcement.