One in four Scots unlikely to go on holiday this year

More than a quarter of Scots are unlikely to take a holiday this year according to new research citing the cost of living crisis, rising fuel prices, and disruption at airports, on the railways and with ferries as major factors affecting decision-making.

Edinburgh has been one of the most popular holiday destinations for Scots this year. Picture: Visit Scotland/Kenny Lam
Edinburgh has been one of the most popular holiday destinations for Scots this year. Picture: Visit Scotland/Kenny Lam

Holidays in Scotland are expected to be the main choice for Scots this year, with breaks in the Highlands and Edinburgh top of their list of preferred destinations.

One in three Scots have been on holiday in Scotland so far this year, compared to just 19 per cent who had headed for Europe, and four per cent on a long-haul trip.

However more than half of holidays in Scotland were booked within a month of their departure date.

Marc Crothall is chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance. Picture: Simon Williams

The new research emerged as tourism industry leaders warned that the soaring rate of inflation would have a “significant” impact on the sector.

More than 1000 Scots took part in the new research, carried out from 1-2 August by consultancy 56 Degree Insight.

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Managing partner Jim Eccleston said: “The cost of living crisis is having a major impact on holiday choices. Around 84 per cent of Scots claim their 2022 holiday choices have been impacted.

“Rising petrol and diesel costs are also having an impact amongst 70 per cent (an especially important factor for domestic markets), and we see that Covid continues to play a role in decision-making.

“Travel disruption has been significant over the summer - and this has also been an important consideration for many.”

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said: “While it’s heartening to read that many Scots have chosen to holiday at home, the levels of spending by domestic and UK visitors is not enough to provide businesses with the financial comfort they would like and now need as we move into the shoulder season.

“More worryingly, in recent weeks as inflation continues to rise, this has put added pressure on the balance sheet, as well as sparking a slowdown in booking by UK households.

“The situation remains fluid in terms of the cost-of-living crisis and with the announcement around the rise in inflation, it would seem likely more people will put plans on hold and almost certainly curtail spending.

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“The economic outlook for the industry is likely to be worse than what we’ve experienced throughout Covid.

"I would urge both governments to take immediate action to lower VAT rates, put a freeze on the energy price cap, introduce a price cap for businesses plus extend relief on business rates and to do so immediately before we see a wave of business closures and job losses.”

Leon Thompson, executive director of UKHospitality Scotland, said: “Given the financial pressures people are already experiencing it is not surprising they are still to decide on holidays and booking late. Our members have been reporting last-minute and late bookings for some time.

“Another area of concern is that people are looking to lower expenditure whilst on holiday, impacting takings in bars, restaurants and coffee shops.

“The shoulder months present a particular difficulty. With so few advance bookings many hospitality businesses are considering whether they can remain open through the autumn and winter.

"Without financial assistance from our governments on energy and business rates there will be businesses that will not survive.”

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