Tourism faces huge battle as cost-of-living crisis undermines recovery

Scotland’s tourism industry, including attractions such as Stirling Castle, relies heavily on the domestic market.

New MAJOR research has revealed big challenges facing the Scottish tourism industry, raising serious doubts about its ability to recover from the effects of the pandemic and capitalize on key summer months.

Not so long ago, the main concern of industry operators would have been simply to reopen and resume trade, to return to receiving visitors from home and abroad after long periods of closure and disruption to trade. The anguish of quarantine, anxiety about finding cash to pay employees and bills, and a lack of information about the future were heartbreaking and frightening for thousands of business owners and managers when the enormity of Covid became apparent in 2020.

But even though those dark days are (hopefully) behind them, they have been followed by a tidal wave of post-pandemic problems, some interrelated and some almost impossible to foresee.

The shortage of staff caused by Brexit and now so acutely felt in the wider hospitality industry was, of course, widely predicted. And the supply chain difficulties that arose from the lockdowns became apparent as the economy reopened after the lockdown.

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But Russia’s war in Ukraine and the subsequent impact it has had on energy, fuel and food prices, which contribute so much to the skyrocketing inflation we are seeing now, hardly crossed the minds of travel agency executives as they assumed. your way out of the pandemic.

Nor would there be the wave of industrial unrest now sweeping the country, disrupting services such as railroads as workers battle cutbacks and campaign for payrolls that could help alleviate rising living wages.

However, this is the reality of life in mid-2022 and it has presented a range of challenges that make it extremely difficult for the tourism sector to recover from the pandemic.

The problems were revealed this week in the latest state of the country survey by the Scottish Travel Alliance, published on Monday.

Reflecting the opinions of more than 700 tourism businesses conducted between May 17 and June 8, the survey showed that the cost of living crisis, the lure of overseas vacations and lack of competitiveness on the global stage are weighing heavily on the industry’s outlook.

The survey found that 50% of businesses had fewer bookings than usual between June and August compared to the survey’s forecast at the same time in 2019, and 40% reported lower spending since May 2021.

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And he identified rising energy and supplier costs, hiring and staffing difficulties, and inflation as the top three…

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