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September 10, 2020

PRESS RELEASE – Hospitality Industry Suffering From Reduced Capacity And Low Autumn Bookings

This is the key finding from a series of nine SkyeConnect sectoral surveys carried out on Skye and its neighbouring areas from 31st August to 5th September.

Skye’s tourism and hospitality industry is reporting low business confidence as it moves from summer into the autumn season. 

This is the key finding from a series of nine SkyeConnect sectoral surveys carried out on Skye and its neighbouring areas from 31st August to 5th September. 

180 businesses responded to the online surveys across the b&b, self-catering, hotels, campsites, restaurants/cafes, galleries/retail, marine tour operators, visitor attractions and outdoor activities sectors. 

In the bed and breakfast sector only three-quarters of businesses responding to the survey are currently open with the vast majority operating below normal capacity. 70% of businesses report bookings for the next two months being either poor or non-existent. 

Of the hotel operators who responded to the survey 78% are operating below normal capacity. More than half of respondents claim bookings for the next two months are poor or non-existent. 

However, the self-catering sector is, perhaps unsurprisingly, faring better than other accommodation providers with 96% of providers saying they are either busy or very busy and 90% reporting good or very good levels of bookings for the next two months. 

Restaurants and cafes report having been busy despite reduced capacity. Half of respondents are making up for the reduced capacity by offering a take-away service. This trend is being replicated in the hotel sector with two-thirds of respondents now offering a carry out service. 

In the galleries and retail sector 60% of respondents report business being quiet or very quiet. Two-thirds say they have no, or limited confidence in business prospects for the next two months. 

However, marine tour operators and outdoor activity providers have had a good second-half of the season. Despite a reduction in capacity due to social distancing, 70% of marine tour operators and 66% of outdoor activity providers are either confident or very confident about business prospects for the next two months. 

SkyeConnect’s Project Manager, Alistair Danter, says the surveys provide a useful snapshot of business confidence and provide hard evidence of the continued support the tourism and hospitality sectors will require through the autumn and winter. 

“It is heartening to see that most sectors have been busy and able to generate income in the second half of the summer season. However, it is impossible to recoup the losses incurred during lockdown. We had hoped the tourist season might be extended this year with people looking at autumn staycations, but our surveys show there is not much confidence around apart from in the self-catering and outdoor activity sectors where social distancing is not a significant barrier to business operation. We would encourage all businesses to promote each other by letting guests know what hospitality and tourism providers are open. To this end SkyeConnect has created a database of businesses that are open which is available through further ahead, the surveys clearly demonstrate the desperate need for ongoing financial support to help businesses through the winter and into spring when we hope to see a return to more normal visitor levels for the 2021 season.” 

Interviews available on request. 

Simon Cousins 

07850 715111

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