In a few weeks’ time, the majority of Scotland’s tourism businesses will open their doors for the first time in months to welcome people like you and me; people whose idea of a “day trip” has been a frenetic Supermarket Sweep-style essentials grab, in between Zoom calls and home schooling.

I should offer thanks here to my children who have been enormously forgiving of more than an occasional oddball meal cooked by Chef Crothall. They won’t remember it.

The thousands of tourism businesses that the Scottish Tourism Alliance has fought hard for around the clock for 12 months I’m sure will remember the long hours we devoted to navigating a way through the crisis. My colleagues’ children have also been raised on similarly hastily assembled, mismatched cuisine!

The arrival of spring has brought new hope and a feeling of anticipation; our worlds are about to open again, freedoms we took so much for granted will return. Our local communities, places where we’ve wandered empty high streets “for something to do” for the best part of a year, will welcome life back.

Life locked down has prevented us from having local experiences which would have been a regular part of our weekends. And, while stuck indoors, our minds have understandably gone to the “big places”. Sunshine, exotic locations, the sights, sounds and smells of faraway places, the immersion in different cultures; the joys of foreign travel.

Pushing the idea of a bacon roll and coffee from the café down the road as a tempting alternative right now to lying on a beach with a frozen Margarita is going to be a hard sell – but maybe not when you deconstruct it and think about what goes into making simple local experiences what they are.

A farmer, a butcher, a dairy, a coffee-maker, a baker, a café or restaurant owner, for a start; people whose livelihoods depend upon people like us buying bacon rolls and coffees on a Saturday morning.

A small example, but scale that up to every eatery, pub, hotel, shop and experience in your area and across Scotland and you see where I’m going.

The beaches and cocktails will still be there, maybe not for a while; we don’t know when international travel will resume or indeed when we’ll able to welcome the world back to Scotland. So for now, as we step out into the brighter days, leaving a winter none of us want to remember, we must look at what we have around us and make the most of it.

The shops you’ve wandered past on a cold January morning wondering how that business owner is doing, what life is like for them, if they’ll still be here in three months – if they are, go in, enjoy a conversation, have a browse, make a purchase if you can.

The restaurant that you always said you would visit, until that experience, like just about everything else, was no longer possible – enjoy a meal, or coffee and cake.

Know that every small thing you do to support your local businesses, in whatever way you can, will be the most important thing that has happened in that business in a very long time, and how appreciated your custom will be.

Enjoy your local visitor attractions that you never visited because “you’re a local and they’re for tourists” – they need your support too.

Treat your own place like a tourist would, seeking out the hidden treasures and joys of history, heritage, culture, food and drink, shopping and experiences.

They are there to be enjoyed by all of us, the restaurants not least by the Crothall kids, seeking an entirely more normal dining experience than those of the last 12 months!

Marc Crothall is chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance