VIRUS SUCKING LIFE OUT OF THE TOURISM INDUSTRY

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The way we were – regulars enjoying a pint in a traditional Scottish pub.

By Bill Heaney

Loch Lomondside’s pubs, hotels and restaurants will continue to need financial support from the Government even after the corona virus lock down is lifted.

Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford asked Fergus Ewing, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, if he too was concerned the effects that the Covid-19 emergency was having on small to medium-sized hotels, public houses and restaurants “which are a vital part of the tourism economy in my constituency.”

He added: “Even if current restrictions are eased, many of those establishments, because of their size, will find it challenging, thanks to safe social distancing, and will continue to require financial support.”

Fergus Ewing agreed. He said: “For many businesses in the tourism sector, there is a sense that, when it comes, the recovery will not be rapid; it will be slow and not total but partial.

“Therefore, as Mr Crawford has clearly articulated, there is a strong sense that many businesses will face considerable pressure for a considerable time to come, especially if it proves to be necessary to lift the restrictions partially and with the requirement to continue to observe social distancing.

“That will place obvious pressures on restaurants, hotels and bars. Therefore, I have engaged extensively with UK colleagues, including Nigel Huddleston, the UK minister, and we have had constructive talks.

“When I have argued that the furlough scheme might require to be extended beyond June, there has been some sympathy from him that that scenario is faced particularly by the tourism industry.

“Therefore, on a non-partisan basis, we have argued—and we will continue to argue—the case for tourism, because, even if the Covid-19 crisis is successfully overcome and restrictions are lifted, the tourism sector in Scotland and the rest of the UK will need more support for a long time to come.”

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