2020 was the worst year for tourism and travel, from stay at home to stay.

Friday, March 19, 2021, 7:00 a.m.

“/>Exploring Scotland in a motorhome is popular with travelers looking to distance themselves socially. Trˆigh Iar Beach near Horgabost, Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides.

For a society that was used to weekend trips abroad and trips near and far wearing a bucket hat or cap, Covid-19 came as a shock to the system. The biggest crisis the travel industry has ever faced has changed the way we travel for good, with winners and losers.

Tourism is a labor-intensive sector that directly creates around 229,000 jobs (8.8% of all Scottish workers) and the pandemic has had a life-changing impact on those who work in the industry as well as those who love to travel.

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When the lockdown hit last March, the vacation program was not yet in place and businesses were hit hard.

James Thomson, owner of Edinburgh’s The Witchery and Prestonfield, said: “It has been without a doubt the most challenging year of my life since I opened my first store, The Witchery, 42 years ago. It led me to make the heartbreaking decision to shut down the Tower restaurant which has been running successfully for 22 years and unfortunately resulted in the loss of 55 very loyal employees. “

Thomson has managed to protect the remaining 200 employees at The Witchery and Prestonfield through the vacation program and by taking out a £ 2.5m CBILS government loan from RBS and a Scottish Government Hotel Support Grant that Prestonfield has protected jobs in the currently closed events business.

Because travel was restricted, there was an urge to get out on the road when the lockdown was lifted and go to places with outdoor glamping areas or remote self-catering marinas.

The companies have now adapted. Some hotels have announced self-catering options where they could and got creative – the Fife Arms, Braemar opened an online shop, while others have been refurbishing and relaunching, such as the Voco Grand Central in Glasgow. At the Dornoch Castle Hotel on North Shore 500, they decided to do crowdfunding.

“/> Lossiemouth East Beach in Moray has made it into the top 50 most photographed beaches on Instagram worldwide.

“We launched what I believe to be the first major crowdfunding campaign for the hospitality industry,” said owner Colin Thompson. “It has been immensely successful, raising £ 48,000 in just two days and collecting £ 70,000 from around 300 donors (who will receive a 20% increase in value) and hundreds of amazing news items. This gave the entire team immense confidence to keep moving and handle it. “

“The big change last summer was the move away from our traditional international golf, whiskey and history visitor to the UK. Many are making the NC500, generally a shorter stay, two nights maximum, in search of quality restaurants and a large increase in day-to-day trading. “

One of the challenges was discovering beauty on your doorstep when Scotland was high on the list of travel attractions. Lonely Planet’s list of best day hikes featured Skyes Quiraing, the stacks of Duncansby in Caithness, and a meander through Melrose in the Borders, while Lossiemouth East Beach in Moray is in the top 50 most photographed beaches in the world alongside Bondi and Venice Beach found Instagram.

Air travel has been a big loser, with passengers at UK airports falling 75% in 2020, and airlines have lost an estimated £ 20 billion. In Scotland, Glasgow Airport was hardest hit, as passenger numbers fell 78% from 8,843,000 in 2019 to just 1,944,981 in 2020, while in Edinburgh they fell from 14,734,000 to 3,473,652, a decrease of 76.4%.

“/> The bar-restaurant in Kimpton Blythswood Square where the tables have been rearranged to create social distance.

In December the Scottish Government launched a £ 104.3 million tourist business support package. An additional £ 25 million was announced in February, including £ 1 million in support of RV and RV operators and £ 10 million in visitor attractions.

Finally, a shot in the arm was fired on March 16 when Nicola Sturgeon announced the property would reopen on April 26, subject to further restrictions.

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland’s chief executive, welcomed the rise of tourism after one of its most difficult periods, but was cautious.

“We won’t just push a button and tourism will recover. We have had a year of very little investment, job losses and business closures, and it will take time and significant support to get us back into a thriving industry.”

“/> Kimpton Blythswood Square, Glasgow, was popular with locals looking to escape from their homes.

This caution is reflected in bookings where Scots are more likely to plan and travel to destinations in the UK later in the year than English, although bookings with the vacation company TUI and Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, and Portugal have increased by 500% Spain are open According to and Jet2holidays, customer confidence has returned.

There are three major “musts” for travelers these days: vaccinations, low travel destination Covid-19 rates, and Covid-19 travel insurance. Security is everything, with BA testing Covid passports and proof of vaccine required for P&O cruises.

A VisitScotland spokesperson said: “We know Scotland is a popular destination for UK residents and, as we saw last year, there was a real desire from Scots to explore their own country. After spending so much time at home, the demand for rural destinations and green spaces that provide benefits for physical and mental wellbeing is likely to be high again. “

And while travel and tourism have suffered a massive slump, there have been winners like the 3.2 million households who got pets during Covid as Edinburgh tops the list of dog-friendly stays in the UK thanks to its green spaces and dog-friendly restaurants and beaches, noisy

With 85% of dog owners choosing to stay abroad, 2021 appears to be the year of the dog. And our top vacation activity? To go for a walk.

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