Scottish Tourism Alliance responds to publication of latest tourism figures
Quote from Marc Crothall, Chief Executive:
“The latest visitor figures for Q3 (July – Sep) are very encouraging and this should offer confidence to the industry that we can continue to perform successfully as Scotland’s main economic driver during these periods of political and economic uncertainty.
VisitScotland’s marketing activities and campaigns over the past few years, including of course the Focus Years and the far reaching and emotionally connective ScotSpirit campaign have clearly played a huge part in drawing visitors to Scotland to experience all that we have to offer. Our industry must also be congratulated for their resilient and confident approach to delivering a world-renowned experience during this recent period of instability. The growth in airline capacity and the number of routes continues to strengthen Scotland’s accessibility and appeal as a destination and our airports, private and public agencies must also be commended in their efforts to make Scotland a ‘one flight’ destination.
Tourism businesses in Scotland are currently facing numerous challenges in their ability to deliver that quality, authentic and memorable experience, which is at the heart of the Tourism Scotland 2020.
The rising costs of doing business is a major concern for tourism businesses at the moment, most pertinently the significant increase in business rates, which for some hospitality and licensed trade businesses will be up to 200%. This on top of rising costs of goods and services, insurance, licensing, the Apprenticeship Levy and National Living Wage rises will put many smaller businesses in jeopardy. Our ability to recruit, grow and strengthen our tourism workforce from EU countries and manage the widening skills gap that exists within the industry remains a key concern for most tourism businesses.
The STA will be conducting a piece of research over the next few months into the total of over the counter tax for tourism, including VAT.
While we continue to navigate our way through this period of change, uncertainty and unknowns, we cannot make any assumptions about how these figures might look in the future. Our priorities are to continue to build the foundations for sustained growth for Scottish tourism with Scottish Government, our public agencies and the tourism industry, promote and encourage supportive measures for our industry at policy level and also to promote the vast range of initiatives available through this partnership to support individual tourism businesses in their growth strategy.”