Visitors want to be greeted by Scots, says top hotelier

BRITAIN’S top hotelier has called for hospitality businesses to ditch overseas staff in favour of native Scots.

Stephen Carter, chairman of the five star De Vere Cameron House hotel on Loch Lomond, claims guests do not want to be greeted by foreigners when they are holidaying in Scotland.

In recent years there has been a steep rise in the numbers of Poles, East Europeans, Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans working in the country’s hotels, pubs and restaurants.

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But Carter, a VisitScotland board member and UK Hotelier of the Year 2011, has bucked the trend by ensuring that nearly all his employees are locally-based Scots.

The chairman of the Hospitality Industry Trust for Scotland is unapologetic over his belief, regarded as controversial by some and as common sense by others, that visitors “want to be looked after by Scottish people”.

Speaking of the number of overseas accents to be heard among staff working in pubs, hotels and eateries in Edinburgh’s showpiece Royal Mile, the hotelier – awarded an OBE in 2007 – said:“That’s a little disappointing because the opportunities are terrific and it would be a shame if we can’t get more Scottish people involved in tourism.”

The British Hospitality Association supports Carter. Spokesman Max Quest said: “I think any hotel would prefer to employ local staff as they give assurance to the guests and root the hotel much more deeply in the local community and give more of a personal service.”

However, Europe Solution, a recruitment agency which specialises in finding UK posts for Poles, claimed many employers found foreign workers to be more hard working and reliable than British staff.

Owner Marc van Ling said: “I speak to many clients who just can’t find the people to fill their posts. They have fairly straightforward requests for people to turn up on time and do a job.”