It’s fantastic to see the enthusiasm among many tourism businesses eager to make the most of the season. We passed a major milestone on 15 July with much of our industry back to work and we’re seeing visitors return and others rediscover Scotland.
The evidence points to self-catering bookings looking healthy with some reports suggesting that overall bookings are up 40% year on year. Caravan parks and motorhome demand is strong and our rural and coastal areas are also seeing strong demand in line with what’s happening across Europe.
But although rural hotel bookings are beginning to pick up, city hotel occupancy is very depressed, understandable as there are no business events, no events and festivals, no US flights and some major attractions yet to open. A number of attractions which are open, and which are based indoors, have seen soft footfall due to visitor concern on physical distancing, but this nervousness does seem to be improving.
So, there are some real positives to be seen across Scotland but there is still much work to be done and we must fill in the last support gaps to help the full tourism and events industry recover. Our economy has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and the announcement of three new funds this week for hotels, the event industry and self-catering, is welcome news.