FOLLOWING the confirmation of Kate Forbes, Ash Regan and Humza Yousaf as the candidates to succeed Nicola Sturgeon, UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Leon Thompson has highlighted the opportunity to build a genuine partnership with Scottish hospitality, for the benefit of the economy.
He said: “Scottish hospitality is at the heart of our economy, whether that be the 200,000 people it employs, the £9 billion it delivers to the economy or the millions of visitors it attracts each year.
“Those figures are just the tip of the iceberg of what our sector can deliver for Scotland, if the new First Minister chooses to engage with business and reset the relationship with hospitality.
“At the moment, there is an overriding feeling that our sector is not being listened to or valued. Poorly-designed initiatives like the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) will burden the industry with cost and regulation, with almost no benefit, and the proposals around alcohol promotion feel like a blunt instrument that will harm businesses, without achieving its desired health objectives.
“I would encourage all the candidates to speak with UKHospitality Scotland and its members to understand our concerns, and then take them on board into office. It’s not too late to learn from the mistakes that have been made with the business community and fix them, whether that’s fixing DRS or choosing not to introduce a flawed tourist tax that will damage Scotland as a leading visitor destination.
“I hope all the candidates take time during this contest to visit hospitality venues and see for themselves what an integral part of our community they are. If they support our sector, we can deliver even more growth, jobs and prosperity to Scotland.”