City tour firm says Scotland ‘tarnished’ as ‘poor value for money’

Tourists during the Edinburgh Fringe. Picture: JP
Tourists during the Edinburgh Fringe. Picture: JP
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Overseas tourists have been warned by an Edinburgh tourism company that typical Scottish frugality is no excuse for overpriced and poor quality accommodation.

James Aitken, the managing director of Edinburgh-based luxury tours company Cashel Travel, said he believed Scotland’s reputation has been tarnished by its dated rooms and “stuck-in-the-past” hoteliers despite visitor numbers reaching a record high last year.

He claimed hospitality standards were so poor that some continental companies refused to return to Scotland due to having such bad experiences in the past.

Writing in the Scottish Tourism Alliance’s newsletter, Mr Aitken said: “The negative perception of quality and poor value for money in Scottish tourism is real and persistent. When selling Scotland to overseas tour operators, this is a constant refrain.”

Mr Aitken went on to describe his personal experience with the poor standards of hospitality in previous years, writing: “The hotels we visited went from poor to terrible the further north we travelled from Edinburgh.

“The problem is the reputation of Scotland was really tarnished by these hotels and overshadow the excellent work being done by the majority of our professional hoteliers and suppliers.”

The number of overseas visitors to Scotland increased by almost 30 per cent last year, with their spending growing by nearly one fifth.

However, the Tourism Alliance has now stressed some hoteliers may struggle to cover the costs of renovating their properties to modern standards.

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