Tourism representatives have been swamped with calls from anxious operators after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's announcement over potential holiday restrictions.

The First Minister said the Scottish Government is currently preparing a revised strategic framework to be published next week for gradually emerging from lockdown.

It will advise against booking Easter holidays either overseas or within Scotland, she said, while summer staycations may be possible.

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said: "Since the First Minister’s announcement this afternoon, we have had an influx of correspondence from tourism businesses extremely anxious at the First Minister’s indication that an Easter reopening is highly unlikely and that a question mark has been placed over domestic travel this summer.

"The STA board will meet with the First Minister in the coming weeks and take the opportunity to update Ms Sturgeon on the desperate state that the industry is in. 

"I know of numerous businesses who are wholly reliant on being able to trade again at Easter in order to stay solvent; today’s indication that this is highly unlikely will I know serve as a crushing blow to many."

READ MORE: Overseas summer holidays 'highly unlikely' warns Sturgeon

He added: "On a positive note, I know that our industry is breathing a huge sigh of relief as a result of the Finance Secretary’s announcement that she will extend 100% business rates relief to the sector for another year.

"There is however no doubt that upweighted targeted support must be allocated to the tourism sector if businesses are not going to be able to trade viably for months to come and the STA will continue to press both the Westminster and Scottish Governments for this."

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said it gave the news a cautious welcome.

He said: "Its encouraging that so-called non-essential shops are being considered as a priority when it comes to re-opening the economy after lockdown.

"We also look forward to the publication of the refreshed Strategic Framework, which will hopefully deliver a more consistent and visible approach to Covid restrictions after two months of chopping and changing to the rules affecting retail."

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