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STA meets with Scotland's First Minister

Fri 28 May 21

The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) and UKHospitality met with Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP last Friday to discuss the impact and implications for businesses within the sector which remain in level 3 restrictions.

The trade bodies were keen to establish why a blanket approach to restrictions, rather than a targeted postcode method of managing the rising cases was taken and highlighted the impact of travel restrictions within the Glasgow area and on tourism businesses across the rest of the country, Glasgow being one of the main conurbations for travel to other destinations.  The organisations also expressed the need for greater flexibility in the strategic framework restrictions, depending on local circumstances.

The STA has had conversations with many of its sector groups and trade bodies, gleaning evidence from members such as the Scottish Beer and Pub Association and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association which were relayed directly to the First Minister.

The priority issue for discussion was focussed around the levels of financial support which are required immediately by the impacted tourism and hospitality businesses both within and outside the restricted travel areas and support for new employees who have not been able to work but are not eligible for furlough.

The issue around the impact of short notice, the importance of businesses being given a clear timescale for communication of changes to restrictions was also raised as was the heightening mental health crisis within the industry.

The organisations took the opportunity to acknowledge the First Minister’s newly appointed Cabinet and Ministerial team, welcoming the appointment of Kate Forbes MSP as Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy and the announcement that Ivan McKee MSP will take on the supporting role as Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise.

The STA also raised the issue of the impact of the ongoing ferries situation on island communities and the tourism economy.  The First Minister offered assurance that this was high on the list of priorities for the Transport Secretary.

Marc Crothall, STA CEO and Chair, Stephen Leckie had an initial meeting with Mr McKee to appraise him of the structure and activity of the organisation, its members and the wider tourism industry and has invited both he and Ms Forbes to the next STA Council and Board meetings in June.

You can view the note from the meeting with the First Minister here.

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