Tourism in Scotland should be booming - but where are the staff ? - Helen Martin

Scotland’s tourism businesses should be back to making money and welcoming guests as the staycation rush get underway this summer.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 7:00 am
Sango Bay beach at Durness in the Highlands. The north is expecting a surge in staycation tourists this year. PIC: StockSolutions.
Sango Bay beach at Durness in the Highlands. The north is expecting a surge in staycation tourists this year. PIC: StockSolutions.

There’s a problem though, especially in beautiful and attractive locations out of cities such as those in the Highlands, the Borders or in other peaceful, rural areas.

Many hotels and restaurants can only accept a limited number of customers and are charging them more than usual because of a desperate shortage of hospitality staff.

There are so many popular holiday areas in Scotland in areas of rural population, where the labour force is limited.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Cleaners, waiters and waitresses, chefs have several reasons for not returning to their jobs. Some have found other work that pays higher than the basics of the tourist industry. It’s a picture seen in the cities, too.

It’s just as awkward a picture on the fruit farms, where pickers and reapers from Poland, Lithuania or anywhere else in the EU were accommodated and paid. This week, Scotland’s growers warned once again that crops could be left to rot as the realities of Brexit and its impact on seasonal workers are felt in the field.

We have had an annual week in chalets in Aviemore for many years where staff – from receptionists to gardeners – were from anywhere else other than Scotland or the UK.

Now, just as farming, fishing financial industries and much more, some parts of the tourism industry are being shattered by Brexit. That may well encourage more to vote for independence.

Unless, that is, the UK renews free movement? Impossible.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.