Coronavirus: Scottish rural tourism set to open next month

Further measures have been announced to support Scotland’s vital rural tourism industry
Further measures have been announced to support Scotland’s vital rural tourism industry

Farmers who have diversified into rural tourism and hospitality businesses are primed to assist Scotland’s economic recovery if reopening goes ahead next month.

The Scottish government said it is aiming for a restart date of 15 July for tourism as Covid-19 lockdown measures are set to ease.

However, the date is dependent on public health advice and progression to Phase 3 of the lockdown route-map.

A new Scottish Recovery Tourism Taskforce will also assist with the ongoing reset of the tourism sector.



It will look at the sector’s recovery needs as well as actions being taken by the UK government and the development of a new domestic visitor marketing campaign.

The Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) said the intended resumption of tourism and hospitality was 'welcome news' for Scotland’s rural economy.



Stephen Young, head of policy at SLE, said: “Progress still needs to be maintained in the fight against Covid-19 but this indicative target provides a date which businesses can work towards.

“We recently established that 90% of 250 rural businesses we surveyed felt they were well-equipped to reopen safely.

"The Scottish government has said it will publish guidance next week for the tourism and hospitality sectors and this should hopefully provide even greater confidence for the restart."

The rural business group added that it would like to to see self-catering or caravan sites open earlier if possible.

"Rural areas are helped by having more space and most guests will travel by private transport to accommodation so an opportunity does exist to expedite the resumption of rural tourism," Mr Young said.

Scottish government's tourism secretary Fergus Ewing said: “This date cannot be definitive and is conditional on public health advice and progression to Phase 3 of the route map.

"Businesses must now use this time to satisfy the necessary regulations and adapt to the new way of living.”