Devastating Year For Hospitality Must Be Followed By Increased Support

Scottish hospitality businesses have been devastated in 2020 and the immediate future looks equally bleak unless support from the Scottish Government is improved, UKHospitality Scotland has warned.

Giving evidence to today’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs in the Scottish Parliament, UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director, Willie Macleod said:

“The hospitality and tourism sectors in Scotland have taken a huge hit this year. There has been an almost complete absence of international travel and the forecast for next year is equally bleak. The industry forecasts one-quarter occupancy rates year-on-year for early 2021, which, in terms of revenue per room, is barely enough to cover fixed costs. Quarters two and three are not likely to be much better.

“The devastation hasn’t been limited to hotels, though. The hospitality offering in entire cities has been hammered. Bars and restaurants have taken a huge hit and their future is looking precarious. Nor have rural areas been immune from the impacts of the COVID outbreak.

“The restrictions placed on businesses have had a huge effect, despite only a small fraction of cases being linked to hospitality. Businesses have ploughed time and money into making their venues safe for staff and customers, but they are still being hamstrung by restrictions.

“Financial support has been forthcoming and gratefully received, but it has not been sufficient. A significant chunk of the support has been discretionary, which means there have been winners and losers. Some businesses have lost out and that could be the difference between survival and failure. There must be a more appropriate support scheme that ensures businesses get the support they need and, above all, more funding must be made available if the hospitality industry is to demonstrate its resilience, adaptability and innovation to make the economic contribution it can through jobs, the supply chain and remission of taxes.”