Scotland tourism hit by worrying holiday figures

Hotel News - 21/06/2010

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As the main holiday season kicks off, figures just released have Scotland’s tourism industry seriously concerned. A dramatic slump in the number of overseas tourists heading to Scotland is illustrated by sharp falls in hotel bookings. The drop in the number of hotel rooms being booked comes on the back of months of horrendous air-travel chaos triggered by strikes at British Airways and the volcanic ash chaos.

Hotel bookings across Scotland in April were down 2.9 per cent from a year earlier. In Edinburgh, hotel occupancy was down a whopping 8.5 per cent. Nationwide, the hotel yield rate – the value of rooms sold – was down for the fourth month in a row, slumping 7 per cent.

PKF, a business analysis firm, released the alarming numbers not long after UK airport operators BAA said the number of passengers through its three Scottish airports fell 11.6 per cent in May. The collapse in traffic was even worse in April, when the volcanic ash cloud led to passenger numbers at Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh airports falling 28 per cent, year-on-year.

Some industry experts say the dramatic decline in Scotland’s tourism business has been caused by a combination of the volcanic ash and industrial action at BA. PKF, however, warns the problems are unlikely to be caused solely by the aviation problems. The answer may simply be low tourist numbers early in the season, combined with weak spending on business travel.

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