The owner of Crieff Hydro has backed the introduction of vaccine passports to aid the recovery of Scotland’s hospitality sector.
The hospitality sector has been among the most impacted by lockdown measures and restrictions during Covid-19.
Crieff Hydro chief executive Stephen Leckie said he would welcome any measure to improve customer confidence.
Vaccine passports support
Speaking at a Courier Business Briefing, he said: “Across the industry we have discussed this (vaccine passports).
“One of the challenges is who is going to police, manage and administrate it.
“A vaccine passport, alongside other measures… if that helps towards consumer confidence, the ability for people to go out and spend money in hospitality, then we in hospitality say that’s welcome.
“Let’s do it as soon as we can.”
The briefing – held in association with Johnston Carmichael and supported by Tricorn Capital – discussed the challenges and recovery of the tourism and hospitality sectors.
Other speakers were Tricorn Capital owner Tim Allan and Rosalind Catto, head of leisure and tourism at Johnston Carmichael.
International travel vital for recovery
Part of the recovery process also involves resuming international travel, the event heard.
Mr Allan, who is chair of V&A Dundee, said: “This isn’t going to recover in 2021, this is going to take years.
“That means a joint approach from across the UK, and using all the fiscal power available from Westminster and Holyrood.”
He added: “I have been appalled at the damage to hospitality and tourism, the two single biggest victims in the business community from the Covid restrictions.”
Ms Catto stressed the importance of making customers feel confident that where they are is a safe environment.
Hopes for future of hospitality
Mr Leckie, who is also chair of Scottish Tourism Alliance, spoke about the major economic impact the pandemic had on Crieff Hydro.
Recruiting enough staff is also a challenge facing his business.
The chief executive would like to see hospitality workers made key workers. This way, they can quickly get visas and work in their old roles.
But he is certain the sector will recover.
He said: “The future of our industry, we believe, is bright. It is still ranked very highly in terms of economic drive for the country.”
Mr Allan added: “The tourists will come back so we need to be ready and welcoming to them.
“Therefore, it’s important that places like the Crieff Hydro are properly staffed up and running so they can do that.”
Jenn Stewart, head of the Dundee office of sponsors Johnston Carmichael, said: “It was great to see the optimism for the sector from all of the speakers involved.
“It is encouraging to note that the First Minister has given indicative dates, and hopeful timescales, for lifting of further restrictions which is vital for the recovery of this sector.”