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Scottish visitor attractions will need cash aid so long as there is social distancing



Scottish visitor attractions will need financial help to survive, as long as social distancing measures are in place, according to new research.

A survey, carried out by the Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism at Glasgow Caledonian University, found that 85% of attractions believe that reopening with two metre distancing would impact on their ability to operate at an economically sustainable level.

More than 200 sites took part in the survey, commissioned by the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA), in February and early March.

Just less than 60% of operators said the introduction of a government-led scheme similar to Eat Out to Help Out would be beneficial to attract domestic visitors back to venues.

The sharp decline in international visitors during the pandemic is expected to have a major impact. Almost 20% of attractions are anticipating a drop in turnover of more than 50% this year as a result.

ASVA members are calling on the Scottish and UK Governments to provide new grant support to the industry, reduce physical distancing restrictions, and increase funding for national marketing targeting the domestic audience.

ASVA chief executive Gordon Morrison said: “The continuation of two metre physical distancing will have economic consequences for the majority of the attractions sector.

“For as long as physical distancing restrictions are in place, it is highly likely that our sector is going to need financial assistance to survive.

“The lack of international visitors in 2021 is going to have a considerable economic impact on our sector – this highlights the vulnerable position that many our sector is likely to be in this year and the need for continued support.”

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Morrison said there was a “palpable increase in optimism” from members following this week’s announcement of indicative dates for reopening.

He added: “The fact that travel restrictions are likely to be relaxed in line with the re-opening of much of the attractions sector on April 26 is particularly heartening.

“Ongoing travel restrictions would greatly inhibit the sector from being able to viably reopen, so the news about the relaxation was very positive.”

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