SCOTTISH staycations may not be able to go ahead this summer, Nicola Sturgeon has warned, despite a boom for domestic holidays in England and Wales.
While regions including Dorset and Cornwall have seen bookings soar for the Easter and summer holidays, Scotland bookings have failed to pick up in response.
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Fiona Campbell, chief executive of The Association of Scotland's Self-Caterers, told the Scotsman: “We are not seeing any kind of rise in bookings as there is no consumer confidence whatsoever.
"January is usually our busiest ever bookings month, but this year, nothing.
It follows comments from Nicola Sturgeon who refused to confirm if Scottish staycations could go ahead, with hopes to reduce the virus to "low levels" across the country.
She said: "I hope that gives us the ingredients to have greater, not 100 per cent, but greater normality domestically within our country.
"And I hope that would include the possibility of us all being able to support the domestic tourism industry by having breaks elsewhere in Scotland.”
"If we do all of that I hope staycations in the summer may be possible, but I'm not going to stand here today and say that's definitely going to be the case by x date and everyone books holidays and for whatever reason it doesn't turn out like that and then rightly they'll be blaming me for booking a holiday they can't have."
Ms Campbell warned: "Sturgeon’s comments have put an absolute strangle on consumer confidence. This has put a halt on the Scottish tourist economy.”
Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance added that while "70 per cent of tourism in Scotland is domestic," the market was still subdued especially at Easter due to the uncertainty.
Despite this, Ms Sturgeon didn't rule staycations out entirely, saying there was"a “possibility of us all being able to support the domestic tourism industry by having, maybe, breaks elsewhere in Scotland”.
She added: “And I hope – this is the bit I can’t tell you exactly when or give you 100 per cent guarantees around – but I hope that would include the possibility of us all being able to support the domestic tourism industry by having, maybe, breaks elsewhere in Scotland.
Staycation holidays are expecting another boom this year as new travel restrictions make a trip abroad much more complicated and expensive.
Quarantine hotels are to be introduced for arrivals from 30 countries, while negative coronavirus tests and Passenger Locator Forms are becoming the norm for travelling.
Red Paxton, Director of Habitat Escapes holiday rentals says there has been a surge in bookings for the Cotswolds and Dorset.
He said: “As speculation around the introduction of hotel quarantine began, this past week we have seen an increase of 56% in holiday bookings for 2021, compared with the same period in January 2020.
“There has been an even larger rush since reports of hotel quarantine emerged.
"As hope for an international break begins to dwindle, families are now turning to UK staycations for their summer holidays with the vast majority of these bookings taking place in July and August.
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