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Hope ahead after hardest of years for Scottish tourism industry

By Alan Beresford

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A HARD year for the Scottish tourism industry, but there is hope on the horizon – that was the message coming from VisitScotland's two most senior officers as the new year approaches.

In a joint statement, CEO Malcolm Rough and chairman Lord Thurso spoke of how the Covid pandemic had hit the industry and the communities which rely on it with unprecedented force during 2020.

However, despite the apparent gloom, including a new lockdown, there was plenty to work for.

They said: "There’s no doubt this will be the worst year on record for the tourism industry, but we know that with your focus on providing amazing experiences, a warm welcome and the great Scottish kindness we are renowned for, we will come through this together.

"Recovering responsibly will be a big part of our activity for next year, looking at how we can work with communities to deliver the best experience for visitors and locals, without putting pressure on our valued assets. We will continue to support businesses and look forward to a return to marketing Scotland across the world.

"It’s going to take time, and our hearts go out to all the people who have lost their businesses and jobs – the real human tragedy of this year is all too evident in our great industry.

"We’d like to thank everyone working in tourism and events for your resilience and strength over the last nine months and we will continue working to support you with new funding in the new year."

The duo went on to urge those living in Scotland to support the country's tourism industry "once it was safe to do so" and help lead the recovery through the spring and summer.

They added: "There really isn’t a better place in the world to have a holiday."

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