The following statement has today been issued by the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) and the Scottish Destination Management Association (SDMA) in response to the current Caledonian MacBrayne industrial action.
Marc Crothall, CEO STA; “It’s extremely disappointing that there has been no resolution or likelihood of agreement between the RMT and CalMac to avoid this week’s industrial action. The timing of the proposed action musn’t be overlooked. We would expect to see a significant loss of revenue to the many tourism businesses that contribute to the Highland and islands wider visitor economy as a result of the proposed strike.”
“It’s not just holidaymakers that are heading to the islands this week. There are many weddings and events scheduled to take place across all of the destinations over the coming days that will now be impacted by the strike. No doubt there will be a further knock on effect of this disruption in the coming weeks.”
“We appreciate the efforts of CalMac executives in doing everything possible to avert industrial action and with what is currently being put in place by way of contingency planning to provide travellers and the island communities with up to date information, alternative timetables and means of transport via bus, rail and aviation operators.”
“CalMac’s dedication to its customer has been evidenced this week with their commitment to providing timely information and quick responses to personal queries in their typically professional, personable manner.”
“We would urge the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland to continue to work together with the RMT and CalMac to seek a resolution as soon as possible to limit the loss of income to the island tourism economy and to avoid damage being done to the world renowned reputation of the Scottish island holiday experience and to these local economies.”
Robert Kidd, Chair of The Scottish Destination Management Association (SDMA) – the trade association representing Scotland’s tour operators – said:
“We (the SDMA) are extremely disappointed and concerned about the impact that this week’s industrial action on CalMac ferry services will have on Scotland’s tourism industry, particularly on the islands, and the wider Scottish economy.
“The timing, at the very peak period of the key summer season, is already having a severely disruptive and detrimental effect on thousands of visitors, many of whom have travelled a long distance for a much anticipated trip.”
“In the long term, the reputation of Scotland as a tourism destination and Scotland’s economy (particularly tourism businesses) will be significantly damaged by an ongoing dispute. We strongly urge all sides to seek to reach a long term agreement as soon as possible to avoid this situation.”
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Scottish Government’s resilience team met yesterday ahead of industrial action which will impact on CalMac ferry services. Discussions with VisitScotland, the Scottish Tourism Alliance and key business groups are taking place to discuss what more can be done to bolster consumer confidence going forward, and also to raise awareness that the areas affected remain open for business during any action.
“Considerable effort is being invested into putting on additional services where possible. Scottish Government officials are liaising with local tourism groups and VisitScotland is publishing information to keep people up to date and is ensuring relevant destination organisations are updating local businesses.
“CalMac and the unions are being urged to continue with the current process of engagement in an effort to reach an agreement that avoids strike action.”
Issued by Mhairi Clarke
PR, Marketing and Communications Manager, Scottish Tourism Alliance
Tel: 07809 558 375