Scotland’s tourism and country sports industries faces losing millions of pounds of bookings after a chaotic last-minute decision by SNP ministers to include self-catering accommodation in the ban on visits to other households.
Fergus Ewing, the Rural Economy and Tourism Secretary, wrote to the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) confirming that only one household will be allowed to stay in self-catering properties from Friday.
He admitted this was a “change from the information that we were able to give you yesterday” and the Scottish Government made the about-turn following “further consideration” of public health factors.
But the ASSC said the U-turn, which the industry group only found out about from a radio programme, had sent “ripples of fear, anxiety, and stress throughout our sector.”
Fiona Campbell, the group’s chief executive, said Mr Ewing should create an exemption for the £723 million sector “to salvage some dignity from this confusing, embarrassing, and undignified mess.”
Scotland’s landowners said the move had “dealt another huge blow which will cost jobs”, with many properties fully booked until the end of the year by friends or family from more than one household.
Scottish Land & Estates predicted that many would now “look south of the Border for a holiday where the rules around self-catering properties are different in some areas.”