Friday, 28 January 2011

Reality in Scottish Tourism at Last?

It could be that the latest Scottish Tourism figures release could just be the cleanser that was required. Ahead of the election in Scotland it may stop the false political claims about the resilience and exaggerated strength of the tourism and hospitality sector and put to bed the claimed positive benefits of a disastrous Homecoming the year before.

In short the figures tell us - and by us that is almost everyone involved in the tourism sector - that things are extremely difficult just now, that 2010 was not a boom year and that whilst the government may say tourism is our rock the reality at business level is that occupancy and rates have been under incredible pressure and demand has been falling.

That is not intended to be a pessimistic message. Far from it.

The counter however is that overplaying the resilience of the tourism market for PR spin does no-one any good other than the politicians. Businesses can now clearly see that we are all in the same boat. How many times have we spoken to tourism businesses across Scotland who think that the rest of the country is doing well and they therefore must be doing something wrong because they were down on the previous year?

Tourism is resilient and Scottish tourism operators across the sector will enable long term growth by their creativity and service standards but let's hope that we can now recognise where we are, stop banging on about useless statistics and build from a realistic position.

Read the tourism figures article in The Scotsman
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