THE Scottish tourism industry is "at risk of total collapse” amid warnings firms which are the lifeblood of the sector will fail without immediate cash support.

Industry body the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) has said this morning that there are more than 2,500 tourism businesses which are receiving no grant support from government.

It also warned a “stark number” of businesses are being turned down for hardship and others grants.

STA chief executive Marc Crothall said: “These businesses will not survive more than a few weeks. The furlough scheme was there to protect jobs for the future. If there is no business, there are no jobs.”

The organisation has called for a date to be set for the re-opening of the tourism industry in Scotland to allow businesses to plan and provide confidence to people who wish to holiday in the country. It noted that the easing of lockdown in England has sparked a revival of the industry south of the Border, amid reports bookings for destinations such as Cornwall are on the rise.

The STA said 2,500 tourism businesses are not receiving coronavirus grants because they operate from properties with a rateable value of more than £51,000. Campaigners say the use of the rates system to determine grants unfairly penalises the tourism and hospitality sector, arguing that property values are not a true guide of business profitability.

Mr Crothall said: "These medium to larger businesses are the lifeblood of Scotland’s tourism industry, major employers – without them, we simply have no tourism industry and these businesses are at risk of collapse. The Hardship and Pivotal funds whilst welcomed are not enough and many have not been able to access."

Scottish tourism supports 218,000 jobs and contributes £7 billion to the Scottish economy, the organisation said.