Scottish Tourism Alliance Chief Executive Marc Crothall has warned that the Scottish government moving 11 local authorities to level four will force many hotels to close next year because footfall will be wiped out.
The latest restrictions which take effect from 18:00 on Friday include a new law banning non-essential travel between council areas and the STA say that hotels faced loss of trade in the lucrative build-up to Christmas and uncertainty on future restrictions.
The Old Course Hotel in St Andrews and Gleneagles have already confirmed they will close.
Said Marc, “I’ve had several calls with hoteliers and hotel associations since the First Minister’s announcement yesterday around the forthcoming introduction of Level 4 restrictions in 11 of Scotland’s local authority areas and the fact that travel guidance from Tier 3 and 4 will become law from Friday.
“All, regardless of which tier they are in are faced with a situation where their footfall is largely wiped out due to the travel restrictions and the fact that alcohol can’t be served in the majority of hotel restaurants which means that they are not able to offer an experience in line with customer expectations. This is leaving many with no option but to close, some for the three week period, many for beyond that period and well into the new year.”
Marc also said that his members have had a raft of cancellations as guests are unsure of what the future will hold forcing many hotels to close until January.
He said, “There’s obviously a great deal of uncertainty around what tier these hotels might go into after the three week period when restrictions are reviewed, coupled with the fact that businesses are losing what would have been a significant amount of income in the run up to the festive period; many I believe will close their doors over the next couple of days until the end of January as the costs of remaining open with trading at such an unviable level are just too high.
“The hotels I’ve spoken to have told me that the cancellations are already flooding in too as guests remain unsure of what will or won’t be possible so all are running the numbers to establish whether it is viable to stay open and with demand already at a very low level for this time of year, it would seem highly likely that most will close for at least the next few months.”
He has called for more clarity on the Scottish Government’s support package including a timescale on when businesses can apply for funding.