There are many people working across Scotland’s tourism, food and drink and leisure businesses who deserve a medal for getting this far.

Negotiating a barrage of cost and staffing pressures fuelled by energy prices and failed immigration policies has been the test of a lifetime in some cases.

These trials and tribulations all come after the pandemic that closed them down completely and which left restrictions in place into 2022, with it only being that January when people travelling to Scotland no longer needed pre-departure Covid tests.

The staycation boom never really materialised although there were pockets of the country that did well.

Now though, as people have a better handle on where the economy is headed, although still paying for UK Government mistakes with their mortgages, the tourism and leisure pound is being targeted.

A landmark grande dame of Highland hospitality, the Royal Hotel, Thurso, reopens today for the first time since Covid lockdown restrictions closed its doors three years ago. It returns with a bang, hosting eight entertainment acts throughout the day and evening.

HeraldScotland: Entertainment starts at 2pm on SaturdayEntertainment starts at 2pm on Saturday (Image: Melville Hotels)

It is Thomas Melville’s fifth addition to his Melville Group of hotels and his first on the North Coast 500.

In Perthshire, we told how the golf hotel and resort at Murrayshall Country Estate near Scone has tabled a £30 million investment into a wider spa, leisure and outdoor activities-based offering that also includes holiday homes.

In Glasgow, plans have been lodged for a "hotel for music lovers", in a partnership between SWG3 and Stallan-Brand, which followed aparthotel proposals for West George Street.

In the Scottish capital, we revealed Chris Stewart's plans for a 115-room hotel and aparthotel at a prime site in the West End, in and around the former Commercial Bank of Scotland building, this week.

HeraldScotland: Chris Stewart's Edinburgh hotel development is the latest in a stringChris Stewart's Edinburgh hotel development is the latest in a string (Image: Chris Stewart/3DReid)

It is one of a handful of major projects in the centre of Edinburgh that include the £100m Ruby Hotel, the £48m Jenners regeneration and the £50m former Debenhams redevelopment that is to be a hotel and spa. These are all on Princes Street.

This week Roomzzz Aparthotels opened with the £1 billion retail, leisure and dining destination, Edinburgh St James Quarter, on its doorstep.

Hospitality, tourism and leisure appear on the cusp of a return to the pre-pandemic days when it was not all about survival.

A level playing field with Euro competitors on critical components like the movement of labour and with firms south of the Border on basics like business rates would certainly help though.

The latter of those was viewed from a fresh perspective in deputy business editor Scott Wright’s Thursday column, where he points out that the early days of Humza Yousaf’s tenure as First Minister have been characterised by a pledge to establish a more cordial relationship with the business community.

However, new tests have already emerged that have the potential to challenge that worthy aim and the administration is at again odds with the retail sector on this.

Elsewhere, a proposed cable factory at a brownfield site at Hunterston in Ayrshire, which it is hoped will create 900 jobs, has been given the go-ahead by North Ayrshire Council.

Also this week, a Scottish course designed by the legendary Ben Sayers has been sold to a US-based online golf community at well over the asking price of £750,000. Spey Bay Golf Course was purchased by Links Golf Club, a “collective of tech-forward Millennial and Gen Z golfers”.