Tourist industry shouldn't be expecting a sudden staycation boom – Helen Martin

Hospitality and tourism businesses were expecting a staycation boom, and most are shattered and horrified by the low level of bookings that seems unlikely to soar throughout summer.

By Helen Martin
Sunday, 16th May 2021, 4:45 pm
Tourists on the Esplanade at Edinburgh Castle (Picture: Rob McDougall)
Tourists on the Esplanade at Edinburgh Castle (Picture: Rob McDougall)

They were hoping they’d rapidly build up income again when people had the opportunity to take holidays elsewhere in Scotland. And they’re convinced that social-distancing regulations here are a major problem compared to most restrictions being written off in England.

All that is understandable. They’ve lost so much money with Covid-19, and taken on so much debt just to maintain their business and be ready to resume.

For many years Edinburgh in particular has been a massive, busy, tourism centre (even if many locals couldn’t tolerate that). So of course, they expected at least a 50 per cent return rather than 20 per cent or less.

However, many people still haven’t had their first or second vaccines and there are still flare-ups in Scotland, and international variants which could spread here.

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Many people have less money now to pay for holidays or visits with sunny countries the first priority. Home maintenance and repairs have been limited so now that’s come back it may require more vital spending. Many people are now spending time with their own families.

Travelling in planes, trains, buses etc doesn’t yet feel totally safe – and driving is no longer welcome in Edinburgh.

Even people who previously travelled the country for work meetings, clients or conferences, now do all that online from home rather than staying in hotels.

Hospitality and tourism will probably return – gradually, but not with a sudden “boom”.

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