Huge Blow to Scottish tourism from new COVID rules

Sarah-Jane Laing Chief Executive of Scottish Land & Estates

SCOTTISH tourism has been dealt another huge blow after the Scottish Government backtracked this morning and said families and friends from two households CAN’T stay in the same self-catering property except in a few special circumstances.

The move comes after the government had said on Tuesday that self-catering properties were exempt from the new tighter rules.

Now Scottish Land & Estates, which represents rural businesses, has written to the Rural Economy Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing, who is responsible for tourism, urging this decision be reversed and calling for more support for the sector.

Sarah-Jane Laing, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates said: “Scottish tourism has been dealt another hammer blow which will cost jobs, just as the sector could see a light at the end of a very long tunnel. Scotland has thousands of self-catering properties, and the recent Scottish Government-funded VisitScotland campaign was extremely successful, with many properties fully booked until the end of the year by friends and families who were looking forward to a much needed break or a staycation during the school holidays. The First Minister urged Scots just the other day not to travel abroad during the October break. Now many won’t be able to support Scottish tourism, instead forcing them to look south of the border for a holiday where the rules around self-catering properties are different in some areas.

“Slowing the spread of Covid-19 is hugely important, no one is disputing that. But businesses are following strict rules to keep people safe. The Scottish Government needs to urgently reverse this decision, which not only impacts on tourism businesses but will also have a knock-on impact on visitor attractions, local businesses and restaurants and pubs. If the government won’t reverse the decision, they need to guarantee financial support for every business impacted or quite simply, this decision will cost jobs.”

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