Scotland’s tourism industry reopens to visitors

With lockdown restrictions continuing to be eased, most of Scotland’s tourism businesses are back in operation as of today (Wednesday, July 15).

By Neil McGrory, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 15th July 2020, 10:15 am
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is one of Scotland's most popular visitor attractions. Photo: John Devlin
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is one of Scotland's most popular visitor attractions. Photo: John Devlin

Phase 3 of Scotland’s lockdown route map allows hotels to welcome guests and attractions to be visited.

Cafes, restaurants and bars can also allow customers to be served indoors.

Speaking before paying a visit to Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness to inspect the new safety measures, which have been put in place, tourism secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Last month we gave the industry the indicative reopening date of July 15 and I’m pleased we are now in a position where Scotland’s world class hotels and tourism attractions can begin to reopen in a safe and sustainable manner.

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“We have worked closely with stakeholders including representative bodies and trade unions on guidance for safely restarting the sector to ensure employees are protected and visitors can have full confidence in planning their trips.

“Indeed, I am impressed by the strong and comprehensive action so many businesses across the country are taking as they make their preparations.

“Scotland’s tourism offer is world leading and I hope many people book staycations or even visit their local tourist attractions and restaurants as they reopen.

“We all have a responsibility to enjoy tourism safely so please familiarise yourself with the guidance available and make plans in advance, checking what facilities are open.

“Do make use of booking systems where available prior to beginning your journey and if for any reason you cannot attend, give plenty of notice before you cancel.

“It is also so important to be considerate of local communities and respect those living in the area you are visiting, particularly by avoiding busy areas.

“We have some of the best experiences in the world here in Scotland – let’s enjoy them safely and support the strong return of our tourism sector.”

Kingsmills Hotel Group CEO Tony Story added: “The hotel industry has had to adapt to this situation very quickly, and we are delighted to be able to demonstrate to Mr Ewing how we are managing the new procedures whilst still assuring guests of a warm Highland welcome.

“Inverness and the Highlands is the perfect spot for a staycation. With so many beautiful wide-open spaces to explore, people can socially distance without too much effort and we’d urge Scots to consider supporting our local economy by planning a trip.”