Domestic Tourism

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 9th September 2020.

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Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

I have much sympathy with that call. I have had numerous conference calls with the Association of Scottish Visitor

Attractions, which is led very ably by Gordon Morrison and Susan Morrison. I am acutely aware of the fact that the 2m rule, which still applies to some visitor attractions, is making it extremely difficult for some businesses to operate viably. Indeed, the reduction may be the biggest ask that they have at the moment.

Some of those businesses have received financial support but, with a reduced number of clients or visitors due to the 2m requirement, it is difficult for some to operate. We are looking at that issue carefully, but we have to balance the public health issues against the industry issues, which is difficult. Sadly, over the past few days, we have all seen the rising number of people who have been found to have Covid. Therefore, as the First Minister has outlined, we need to be extremely careful.

Claire Baker raises a very serious point; it is one that I am considering constantly, as are my officials. As soon as it is safe to do so, we would all want to see a reduction of the social distancing requirement from 2m to 1m for visitor attractions, as well as other establishments.