Hotels in Inverness saw room occupancy levels of 70.7 per cent in October while Glasgow plummeted to 26.9% and Edinburgh’s three star market dropped to 30%, according to an industry trends update.

The impact of moving to tiered restrictions has been a hammer blow to urban hotels in the Central Belt but Inverness has been one of the areas least affected by the virus.

The STR figures build on VisitScotland consumer research and marketing data and come as Highland remains in tier one.

Despite many hotels having to cut staff, booking levels are “creating optimism for winter”.

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The 70.7% occupancy rate for October is down 23.6% from the highs of October 2019.

Glasgow’s October occupancy rate was 67.6% lower than the same month in 2019 while Edinburgh’s four star hotels were down 77.2% on October 2019.

However, Chris Taylor, of VisitScotland, said: “Many hotels in the Highland capital joined the Good to Go scheme as soon as it launched and have been working hard to adhere to government and public health guidance, as well as carrying out the Covid-19 risk assessment to reopen safely."

He added: "Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the industry and it will need our support for some time.”

Emmanuel Moine, chairman of  Inverness Hotels Association, said that - where travel guidance allows - the city will be a safe and attractive option for visitors this winter and into the first quarter of 2021, adding: “The hotels in Inverness did a great deal, very early, to make sure visitors felt safe and able to enjoy everything the city and the highlands has to offer.

“Obviously, although the highlands is a very big area, geographically, the population is relatively small and this has given people confidence to come here. The visitor trends show that Covid 19, and restrictions, have clearly impacted consumer confidence Scotland-wide but we have been very fortunate to be able to still welcome people to the city."