Thursday, 30 July 2009

Scottish Tourism Loses Two Important Routes

The headline is clear enough - Ryanair Add New Routes to Prestwick. Good news for the airport you'd think until the detail reveals that it is an increase in outward facing routes to sun destinations at the loss of Stockholm Skavsta and Frankfurt Hahn.
The loss of these routes are not quite on the level of seven hundred jobs losses at Johnnie Walker but deeply impactful all the same.

Germany and Sweden have provided Ayrshire hotels and golf courses with substantial business over the past five years and the loss of these routes is going to have a serious impact on the revenues of a significant number of hotels and golf courses.

The long term worry is that Prestwick will see a permanent shift from inbound routes to outbound. Okay from an airport point of view any direction is good; from an economic point of view however it moves Prestwick from being an "exporter of Scotland" to an importer of sunshine destinations.

That is not the fault of Prestwick nor a criticism but it does reinforce the point made a little less than a fortnight ago that the hospitality businesses in Ayrshire have taken for granted inbound business from Ryanair and Prestwick. Instead of nurturing the markets and establishing business relationships it has sat back and assumed it as a given. The responsibility, the blame lies with all of us involved in developing inbound tourism to Ayrshire.

Now the routes are lost. The economic impacts are indeed going to be very serious for some at what already was looking like a challenging winter season. It makes the forthcoming visit of Jim Mather to discuss the status of Ayrshire as a key strand in Ayrsghire's tourism picture a little more difficult to substantiate.
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